Cause of Lebanon brush fire being probed by Forest Service

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Firefighters head back behind the Prospect Hill Road cemetery to battle a brush fire on Tuesday afternoon. (Lebano Voice photo)

WEST LEBANON - The Maine Forest Service today is investigating the cause of a brush fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon behind the Prospect Hill cemetery.

The fire was reported by Claire Randlett of Prospect Hill Road who was walking her dog in the area of the cemetery around 1:40 p.m.

Lebanon Fire and EMS Assistant Chief Dan Mathews said the blaze proved difficult to fight due to stiff breezes, low humidity and the inability to get the big fire trucks closer to the fire due to the terrain.

After a few minutes, however, they were able to get a forestry truck closer to the blaze, and using a generator atop the truck bed, were able to get a hose on the fire.

Mathews estimated the charred area at about two acres. He said it appeared the fire had broken out behind the cemetery on the Milton side near the property line.

Randlett said when she first spotted the blaze it was going pretty strong.

"It was a huge billowing ball of smoke and fire," she said late Tuesday afternoon.

Within just a few minutes of her calling it in, she said Milton Fire and Rescue was on scene, followed soon after by Lebanon Fire and Rescue and several vehicles from Rochester Fire, including their Forestry Truck.

No injuries were reported and a couple of hours after they had arrived all first responder vehicles had left except for a Maine Forest Service truck parked at the top of the hill on the Milton side of the cemetery.

Tuesday was a Class 3 day, meaning the fire danger was High, and Mathews said he didn't think any burn permits were issued.

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