A large fire near the summit of one of the state’s tallest mountains continued to burn Sunday night and Maine Forest Rangers say it could take several more days before the blaze, which has burned an estimated 27 acres, is brought under control.

The fire on Mount Abraham – referred to as Mount Abram by local residents – started Wednesday after the mountain was hit by lightning, Regional Forest Ranger Jeffrey B. Currier said. A person witnessed the lightning strike, according to rangers.

Also Sunday, the Maine Forest Service was contending with a stubborn wildfire in Washington County that will take at least another three to four days to bring under control, Currier said.

There is no water source on Mount Abraham, which is west of Kingfield, winds have been gusting, and it takes 90 minutes for firefighters to hike to the area where the fire is burning trees and vegetation. Mount Abraham’s elevation is listed as 4,043 feet.

Two Maine Forest Service helicopters have been dropping water on the blaze for the past two days, Currier said. The helicopters have also hauled several loads of 72-gallon pumpable water blivets to the ridgeline that firefighters can use to suppress the fire.

“This has become a very labor-intensive effort. Without a doubt, we are going to be fighting this fire for another three or four days,” Currier said.


Lightning struck the mountain Wednesday, according to the witness, but when a ranger climbed to the area he was unable to locate any evidence of a fire.

On Thursday, a ranger and a Maine Forest Service helicopter located smoke in a remote, steep section near the peak. The fire started to spread Friday.

On Saturday, the helicopters tried to transport 10 firefighters to the summit, but the pilots were not comfortable making a landing because of gusting winds.

“That’s when (the fire) blew up,” Currier said.

The summit is bordered by a spruce forest. About 27 acres have burned since the fire started, Currier estimated Sunday night.

Currier said the steep incline, winds and a lack of water have made fighting the fire extremely challenging and dangerous.


“We do deal with fires on mountains, but most of them are pretty benign and are brought under control within a few hours,” he said.

Mount Abraham is one of only 13 peaks in Maine higher than 4,000 feet. The mountain offers panoramic views of Maine’s western mountains. It is a popular hiking destination – the fire warden’s trail is the most heavily used – and is located 1.7 miles from the Appalachian Trail junction.

Hikers who climb the mountain walk through old-growth forests dating back 300 years. Four miles of the mountain’s ridgeline extend above the treeline. It also is home to seven rare plant species. In 2000, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands designated Mount Abraham as an ecological reserve, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

As of Sunday night, the Maine Forest Service reported that the Washington County fire had burned about 20 acres in Cathance Township. More than 25 firefighters and rangers are fighting that fire. Cathance Township is located west of Dennysville.

The fire is creating a lot of smoke, which will affect residents of that area, the forest service said on its Facebook page. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

The wildfire danger Sunday was highest in southern and coastal Maine, as well as an inland corridor between Fryeburg, Augusta and Bangor.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.