Wildfire scenario discussed

MOUNT DESERT — Mount Desert Island fire officials worry that if a wildfire were to start in the Pretty Marsh/Indian Point Road area on the western side of the island, it might be difficult to contain.

The main causes of their concern, according to Mount Desert Fire Chief Mike Bender, are the area’s “topography and fuel loads,” that is, the concentration of combustible material.

“There are so many trees over there that haven’t been touched by any wildland fire like the ’47 fire,” Bender said.

Fire burned much of the northeastern part of the island in October 1947.

Bender met recently with Bar Harbor Fire Chief Matt Bartlett and Acadia National Park Fire Management Officer Fred Mason to discuss the potential fire hazard in the Pretty Marsh and Indian Point Road area.

“We’ve got some concerns because there are different types of trees over there than there are where the ’47 fire came through, and you’ve got some houses down in there now,” Bender said.

He said the hilly terrain and narrow roads and driveways in the area could make it more difficult to fight a forest fire.

The three fire officials agreed to look into developing a Community Wildland Protection Plan with the assistance of the Maine Forest Service.

Such plans typically include “prioritization of areas for hazardous fuel reduction … and recommending measures that homeowners can take to reduce the ignitability of structures,” Bender said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt.

He said grants are available to help fund the development of a wildland protection plan.


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]
Dick Broom

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