OLD TOWN, Maine — Due to increased wildfire risk, fire occurrences, and staffing shortages, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service (MFS) is temporarily halting issuing online open burning permits required for the outdoor burning of brush and wood debris. These conditions will remain in effect until the state sees an adequate level of precipitation. Also, MFS Director Patty Cormier is urging Maine’s fire chiefs and town forest fire wardens to use extreme caution or suspend the issuance of written open burning brush permits.
Campfire permits, required for some remote campsites in unorganized towns, remain available. MFS reminds everyone to obtain landowner permission and seek campfire permits which are available from MFS. Recreational campfires on one’s own property for cooking and warming, unless prohibited by local ordinance, do not require an open burning permit and are not subject to this suspension. The suspension of online permits for brush burning will continue until further notice.
“While we are temporarily suspending Maine’s online burning permit systems, we are also going to rely on the experience of our Forest Rangers and our dedicated partners in the municipal fire service to ensure that Maine is protected from this current wildfire threat,” commented Cormier.
Maine wildfire update
Maine is experiencing an abnormally high number of wildfires. To date, Forest Rangers have responded to 712 fires, representing 871 acres. This is the second-highest fire count in 10 years, and it’s only June. So far, there has been a 170% increase in wildfires caused by campfires compared to 2019.
Campfire safety tips
- Before considering burning, check www.mainefireweather.org for local fire conditions.
- Keep the fire small, not tall. That way, if you have to leave suddenly, it is easy to extinguish.
- The campfire should be at least 50 feet away from any structures and on level ground.
- Do not use accelerants to start your fire.
- Always have plenty of water on hand and tools available to put out the fire.
- When you are done, check the fire several times to ensure it is out.
- Supervise children and pets near the fire and never leave your fire unattended.
Since 1891, the mission of MFS is to protect and enhance forest resources through fire prevention, technical assistance, education, outreach to a wide variety of audiences; and enforcement of forest protection laws. MFS offices are found throughout Maine and provide its citizens with a wide range of forest-related services. For more information about the MFS and its programs, visit our website at http://www.maineforestservice.
–Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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