Forest service seeks information on spring Baxter State Park fire
The source of a May 21 wildfire that consumed 45 acres in Baxter State Park remains undetermined. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service (MFS) is seeking assistance from individuals who were hiking or fishing in the area the day of the fire or anyone with information regarding the fire. The blaze occurred at an area known as T2 R10 Wels and started near the Appalachian Trail on the Penobscot River’s West Branch. Lightning has been ruled out as a possible cause. Anyone with information should contact District Forest Ranger Jon Blackstone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-695-3721.
Maine Forest Rangers and Baxter State Park personnel worked together to control the fire. Portable fire pumps pulled water from the Penobscot River and multiple MFS aircraft delivered thousands of gallons of water to help contain the wildfire. A log cabin, two outbuildings and a newly constructed trail bridge over Katahdin Stream were destroyed in the fire. The total estimated cost to suppress the fire is more than $33,000.
“This fire was fast-moving and dangerous because of the dry weather and steep terrain,” said Blackstone. “Our crew and the crew from Baxter State Park worked well together and stopped this fire from spreading into remote terrain.”
MFS is asking everyone to be vigilant and not engage in activities that spark wildfires. Maine Forest Rangers are reporting an unprecedented number of wildfires. Statewide, to date, Forest Rangers responded to nearly 800 fires, representing close to 900 acres, the highest fire count in 10 years. So far, there has been a 170% increase in wildfires caused by campfires compared to 2019.