Brush fires popped up in a handful of towns around Maine Saturday as gusty winds helped create ripe conditions for the fires.
Fires were reported in Bucksport, Sanford and Gardiner. All were reported out or under control by sunset.
Spring is brush fire season in Maine, said Doug Denico, the director of the Maine Forest Service. He said his department has helicopters standing by in Augusta to airlift firefighters to parts of the state where fires are occurring if local communities need help.
One helicoper is equipped with a bucket that can scoop up 240 gallons of water to be dropped on a fire, he said..
Denico said fires this time of year normally occur in southern and Down East Maine. On Saturday, the wind helped dry out grassy areas and then fanned any fires that did start, he said.
The statewide fire danger Saturday was at level 3, midway on the state’s five-step warning system. At level 3, fires can start and spread readily in dead fuel.