A postcard of the devastation in Bar Harbor near the DeGregoire Hotel that resulted from the Great Fire in the fall of 1947. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN COX

Events commemorate Fire of ’47

BAR HARBOR — Several public events over the next few weeks will commemorate Mount Desert Island’s great fire of 1947, which started 70 years ago next Tuesday, Oct. 17, and burned for nearly a month.

It destroyed 237 homes in and around Bar Harbor, razed five large hotels, devastated The Jackson Laboratory and scorched more than 17,000 acres, mostly in Acadia National Park.

History walk

A free, self-guided Bar Harbor history walk on Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 1-4 p.m. will include stops at the Bar Harbor fire station and the town’s athletic fields to see modern firefighting equipment and displays on wildfire history, science and planning. Historic records and artifacts from the 1947 fire will be on display at the Bar Harbor Historical Society museum on Ledgelawn Avenue.

Panel: Fires past and future

Also on Oct. 17, from 7-9 p.m. at The Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, a panel of scientists and fire management specialists will discuss the climate and forest conditions that contributed to the 1947 fire, the “vegetation structure” and fire danger in Acadia today, and the agencies and organizations that are prepared to protect the island from wildfires now and in the future.

The panelists will include the fire chiefs of the four Mount Desert Island towns and fire management experts from Acadia National Park, the Maine Forest Service and the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at criteriontheatre.org.

Film showings added

Additional showings of the Bar Harbor Historical Society’s new film, “The Fire of ’47,” have been scheduled.

The film by Peter Logue of Southwest Harbor and narrated by Steve Zirnkilton of Seal Harbor will be shown Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at The Criterion Theatre. Tickets cost $10.

The Southwest Harbor Library plans to show the film Saturday afternoon, Oct. 28, but the location and exact time are yet to be determined.

The film will be shown Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor. That showing will be free of charge.

Disturbance planning workshop

A daylong workshop on “Climate and Disturbance Planning in Acadia National Park” will be held at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor on Monday, Oct. 16, starting at 8 a.m. The workshop will bring together scientists and natural resource managers to talk about “plausible scenarios for future disturbance regimes” in Acadia “to inform future risk assessments and management plans.”

Anyone interested in attending may contact Abe Miller-Rushing at [email protected]


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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