BAKER ISLAND FUELS REDUCTION BRIEFING STATEMENT-ANP
Baker Island Fuels Reduction Briefing Statement
The intent of this communication is to provide updated information regarding hazardous fuels reduction activities on Baker Island.
During the past eighty years the vegetation on Baker Island, in the Town of Cranberry Isles, has evolved from pastureland to extremely dense spruce forest. This growth has encroached on private landowner’s homes as well as the historically significant lighthouse and associated structures on federal lands administered as part of Acadia National Park. A fire start, most likely from an inadvertent human ignition on a dry day, aided by the frequent strong winds on the island, could damage or destroy the structures before a suppression response could be mustered. According to observed fire behavior of past fires in similar forests, the fuels present on Baker Island could produce flames one hundred to three hundred feet high. While the probability of a fire of this magnitude in this region is remote, it is a real and serious threat.
The National Park Service has initiated a planning process to address the threat posed by wildfire on Baker Island. The purpose of the project is to significantly reduce hazardous fuel accumulations adjacent to the historic structures to reduce the potential for structural ignition in the event of a wildfire. Vegetation immediately adjacent to the structures would be cleared, and vegetation up to 300 feet away would be thinned to reduce the fire hazard. The clearance distances are based on accepted firefighter safety zone dimensions for the flame lengths possible, and those specifications articulated in the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise community defensible space program. More specific information on the Firewise program is available at the Firewise.org website.
An attempt to contract the project locally did not come to fruition due to complexities associated with the federal contracting process. The low bidder bid an amount four times the budget for the project. Subsequently, the decision was made to complete the project with New England National Park Service fire crews. Firefighters from Acadia and Cape Cod National Seashore will begin the work on or around June 11th and complete it on or around June 25th. Detailed treatment specifications are available from the Acadia Fire Management Office by contacting either of the following individuals.
Andy Mitchell, Acadia Fire Management Officer, (207) 288-8780, cell: (207) 266-4570
Fred Mason, Acadia Fire and Fuels management Operations Specialist 288-8783 or 266-4571