Wildfires Burn More Than 300 Acres Over 3 Towns in Maine

A wildfire in Maine spanning three towns burned from Wednesday evening through Thursday night.

The Maine Forest Service said the fire started near the Kennebunk area around 5 p.m. Wednesday and spread over 341 acres by Thursday morning, impacting the towns of Kennebunk, Sanford and Wells.

"We had fire running at quite a quick pace," Sanford Fire Chief Steve Benotti said. "It is one of the largest fires in York County in quite some time."

Benotti said more than 80 personnel worked to contain the blaze. While the fire came within 400 feet of residential neighborhoods, it did not cause any injuries or property damage.

"It almost came out of nowhere," said Wells resident Tanya Jarosz, who saw thick, black smoke surrounding her street around 6 p.m. Wednesday. "It felt like it was explosion. My husband was a little nervous about the property, saying if we get to the point of evacuation, you guys are going to go."

Fire officials are still investigating the origin and cause of the fire. Benotti said the most difficult part was fighting the flames at night, but they had the help of a York County EMA drone, equipped with a heat-sensing camera. Forest rangers said the infrared imaging helped them deploy resources.

"The camera is able to detect the heat, so we could actually see where the most intense fire was taking place along the fire line," District Ranger George Harris said.

He said a cold April and dry start to May made for idea wildfire conditions.

"Things haven't greened up," Harris said. "The dead grass…in this area is very conducive in the dry conditions for very intense fires."

He said this busy start to wildfire season should remind Mainers to apply for permits and consult local fire officials before burning anything.

Fire officials said rain Thursday night should help them put out the York County wildfire by Friday morning.

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