Maine Forest Service Halts Issuing Online Burn Permits
Put those brush fires on hold for at the weekend.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry have stopped issuing online burn permits due to the extreme drought we've seen throughout the year for Maine that continues to persist into late September 2020.
The Facebook post states the following:
Due to drought conditions statewide, Maine Forest Service has halted issuing online open burning permits until further notice and urges Maine's fire chiefs and town forest fire wardens to use extreme caution or suspend the issuance of written open burning brush permits. As conditions ease, permitting will resume as normal. Maine Forest Service reminds everyone that even expertly built fires can quickly get out of control in these extreme conditions and threaten lives, private property, and our precious forests.
The fire conditions are considerably dangerous with 2020's continued pattern of little precipitation, with very little rain falling throughout the state for months.
The Maine DACF's most up-to-date wildfire danger report shows the all of the State of Maine in the 'high' range of wildfire danger due to the current dry conditions, with central and southern coastal regions being 'very high'.
On Monday, the United States Department of Agriculture declared Aroostook county a drought disaster area.
According to maine.gov's MEMA hazards page specifically about droughts, Maine usually averages 44 inches of precipitation yearly. A drought is when a specific 12 month period has only 85% of that precipitation amount.
The drought conditions are leading to hundreds of wildfires around the state. The Bangor Daily News reported that as of September 8th, over 900 fires have been put out by wardens this year, the most seen in a decade.
A drought is a prolonged period without rain, specifically a twelve month period during which precipitation is less than 85% of normal as defined by the National Weather Service; 44 inches is the average precipitation level per year in Maine.
The last prolonged drought was between 2000 and 2003. According to the Maine Emergency Management Agency website, this drought caused a loss of $32 million for Maine farmers with the hardest hit counties being Aroostook and Washington.