May 30, 2010

Smell of smoke likely from Quebec, officials say

By Melanie Creamer
Staff Writer

Police and fire departments  across the state are busy responding to calls this morning about smoke complaints, but the smell is likely from several forest fires burning in Quebec, said a dispatcher with the Maine Forest Service.

Maine State Police has received more than 30 calls about smoke complaints.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s office has received numerous calls with concerns. Chad Arris, a shift supervisor at the sheriff’s office, said the department has received calls of smoke complaints from several town across the state such as Naples, Raymond, Casco, Gray-New Gloucester, Baldwin, Sebago and Gorham.

“None of the calls we have received have resulted in a fire,” Arris said.

Portland’s police and fire departments have been inundated with 911 calls about the smell of smoke. Lt. Chris Goodall, of the Portland Fire Department, said his truck has been on three calls. None of them have resulted in a fire, Goodall said.

“They are concerned they are smelling smoke outside, but we believe they are smelling smoke that is being carried from wind currents from Quebec.”

As of Friday afternoon, Quebec's forest fire protection agency (SOPFEU) said 56 fires were burning across the north-central part of the province, including 10 that remain out of control. The fire zone covers 160 acres of forest.

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