RAYMOND — A homeowner was summonsed for burning yard debris without a permit after a fire destroyed a 5-acre wooded area Sunday and threatened homes on Valley Road.

The Maine Forest Service also cited the homeowner for leaving the burning debris unattended before it allegedly set off the bigger blaze.

Kent Nelson, a fire prevention specialist, said the property owner faces court fines – the summonses are for civil violations – and will likely be forced to pay restitution to the town of Raymond for the services and manpower it supplied.

“He will likely be held responsible for restitution to the fire department, which can get expensive,” Nelson said. “It can add up pretty fast.”

Nelson would not release the person’s name.

Nine fire departments – from as far away as Otisfield, Harrison, Gray and Windham – were called in to fight the fire. It took crews about three hours to bring it under control.

Raymond Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Tupper said two residences were threatened, but crews set up firefighting lines around the homes for protection. Valley Road, site of about 30 homes, had to be closed while the fire burned, Tupper said, but no one was injured and no one had to be evacuated.

Tupper said the fast-moving fire was being driven by wind gusts of up to 45 mph, which caught crews off-guard at first.

“The fire was spreading rapidly. With the wind being as strong as it was, we weren’t getting ahead of it,” he said.

The area is hilly, which made fighting the woods fire even more challenging, he said. Water had to be pumped in from a nearby brook.

As more crews arrived, the fire was brought under control and exinguished by 5:30 p.m.

Nelson said homeowners should always get a burn permit from their local fire department. When conditions are dangerous, like they were Sunday because of high winds, fire departments will contact permit holders to warn them against burning.

Property owners also may obtain burn permits through the forest service by going online to maineburnpermit.com. Instructions and fees are explained on the Web site.


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