Fast-moving woods fire burns 20 acres in Lewiston
LEWISTON — Firefighters, many of whom were fighting massive structure fires downtown Monday night, responded Tuesday to a fast-moving, 20-acre brush fire off College Road. The fire along power lines near Bowdoin Drive was reported at about 1:15 p.m. Crews from 11 departments assisted, including Auburn, Litchfield, Gardiner, Sabattus, Turner, Leeds, Greene, Freeport, Livermore, Hebron and Durham. The Maine Forest Service provided air support to douse the fire. College Road was closed beginning at Stetson Road and north toward Greene to allow emergency vehicles to pass quickly. Gendron and Gendron, a local company that does excavation work, arrived to repair and build roads for emergency equipment and to set new poles. The Lewiston Fire Department immediately contacted Central Maine Power to ask it to reroute power around the lines, CMP spokesman Jim Wright said. He said the fire did not cause outages; however, crews were expected to work overnight to replace as many as six poles that were damaged. Lewiston fire Chief Paul LeClair said at 5:30 p.m. that the fire was under control and confined to a few piles of smoldering wood chips. He said his crews would wrap up operations within the hour. The fire may have been started by off-road-vehicle activity or spontaneous combustion, but at the time, there was no clear cause, the chief said. Asked about the past 24 hours of intensive firefighting by his crew, he said, "They're digging through it and continue to work hard." He said Lewiston firefighters would stop at sunset and return Wednesday morning to "mop up." He said he was grateful for the continued help from surrounding communities.