CARIBOU, Maine — Despite much rain and flooding in parts of Aroostook County over the past two weeks, the wildfire danger for much of northern Maine is at moderate to high levels.
The National Weather Service in Caribou released a special weather statement on behalf of the Maine Forest Service alerting residents to the moderate to high risk for wildfires on Tuesday throughout Aroostook County and in northern Washington, Hancock, Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.
“You should check with your local fire department or forestry office before doing any burning,” according to the NWS statement. “Please remember that a burn permit is required for all burning.”
John Bott, director of communications for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said Tuesday that firefighters across the state have been “really active in the last few weeks.”
“There have been a lot of fires,” he said, noting that a wildfire last week that started near Kennebunk spread over 341 acres and impacted the towns of Kennebunk, Sanford and Wells.
In Aroostook, Maine Forest Ranger Bill Greaves said Tuesday that wildfires were reported in Caribou on Monday and on the Townline Road in Hersey on Tuesday. Neither did significant damage nor impacted structures.
“People are already burning,” he said. “The first thing they need to do after they get a permit is to find out what the fire danger is.”
The statement was released on the heels of flooding along the Fish River and its chain of lakes, from Fort Kent to Portage, last week and through the weekend.
“Whenever you have direct sunlight, warm temperatures and wind, the relative humidity drops,” Greaves said. “The ground will dry up quickly. That makes burning more dangerous.”
According to the Maine Forest Service, more than 90 percent of all wildfires occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Citizens should wait until after 5 p.m. to burn to reduce fire risk.