Flames damage barn, shed, spread to woods

BAR HARBOR – Flames from a burning barn on Russell Farm Road spread to a nearby shed and then raced across tinder dry fields and into nearby woods last Friday afternoon.

According to a witness at the Percy Harding residence, people there noticed a whisp of smoke coming from the ground immediately behind a storage barn shortly before 4 p.m. Within moments, flames appeared and raced up the back of the wood-shingled building. Flames were shooting from the roof of the structure when firefighters arrived.

Seeing that the fire had spread to a snowmobile and a nearby shed, Bar Harbor crews immediately called for mutual aid. At one point, a van used for storage briefly caught fire.

Firefighters from Mount Desert, Tremont, Southwest Harbor, Trenton, Ellsworth, Hancock and Lamoine responded. A Maine Forest Service (MFS) crew also was called. Tanker trucks were used to shuttle water from a nearby fire pond.

The flames, whipped by 20-mph winds, pushed lines of fire across an open field and into brush land. The fire widened as it spread under high-tension power lines and entered a forested area. At one point, the flames were more than 4 feet tall.

Because of the difficulty of getting enough water to the area, an MFS helicopter was dispatched from Old Town to drop water on the blaze. Once additional hose lines were laid and a water shuttle established, the fire was quickly extinguished.

No injuries were reported. In all, about five acres in total were scorched.

Officials said it was too early in the investigation to determine what may have sparked the blaze.

The fire danger across Down East Maine was listed as extreme for several days last week, as high winds dried out vegetation that has not yet greened up for spring. Wildland fires also were reported in Bangor and Surry the same day.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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