PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- "The 1947 fires was a major catastrophe and one of the largest natural disasters in the state of Maine."
Forest Ranger Specialist Kent Nelson has studied the massive fires of 1947.
On October 13, 2047, in an area of parched woods caught fire and spread across northern Maine with the help of heavy winds.
70 years later local fire officials are fighting fires differently as a result. Nelson said they now have stricter open burn laws with stiffer penalties and even changed the communication process and standard operating procedures for fire officials.
Firefighters tried to fight 200 Maine fires that scorched two hundred thousand acres of land and wiped out 9 towns. It Forest rangers, local firefighters, volunteers, and the national guard eleven days to get the fires under control.
Most Maine fires are actually started by people with good intentions, Nelson said…"They’re burning scrub and lawn waste and trying to clean things up," while others happen unintentionally by hikers making campfires.
The year 1947 became known as the year Maine burned…so how do we keep that from ever happening again?
Nelson said, "we need to learn from those lessons from that fire and be careful with all outdoor fires and makes sure it's put out before you leave it."
Maine Forest Rangers are holding events in Bar Harbor on October 17, 2017, for anyone interested in learning more about the Fires of 1947.