PENOBSCOT — Shooting practice in a gravel pit just west of Wight’s Pond Thursday afternoon sparked a fire that ultimately claimed two acres of forest, according to Penobscot Fire Chief Scott Ferden.
“It appears some people were up in the old gravel pit shooting rifles and somehow it started a fire,” Ferden said. “It didn’t take much to get it going.”
Penobscot fought the fire all evening with help from the Blue Hill and Sedgwick fire departments. Crews were called out around 5 p.m. and were back in the station cleaning up gear at 10 p.m., the chief said.
“We chased it ‘til after dark,” Ferden said. “The fire was blowing faster than we could chase it.” The firefighters would almost get the fire out and then run out of hose.
“Luckily, the people that were shooting were smart enough to at least call it in,” Ferden said. “It would have really been roaring by the time anybody noticed it otherwise.”
The fire was in a parcel of woods just west of Wight’s Pond.
“People don’t realize because they have green lawns, it’s really dry in the woods right now,” said Ferden.
The National Weather Service in Gray and Caribou, in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service, have issued a red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions, which is in effect from 9 a.m. Friday morning to 7 p.m. Friday evening. A red flag warning means high fire danger and no open burning should be done.