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Forest Service, Fire Department work with residents to keep Taylor Pond area safe from fire

The chipping crew included (l. to r.) Fire Chief Robert Chase, Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Fifield, intern Bailey Harrington, intern Tyler Curtis, intern R. J. Gross, Fire Prevention Officer David O’Connell, and Ranger Kent Nelson.

For two years running, the Auburn Fire Department and the Maine Forest Service have worked together with residents of the Taylor Pond area to decrease the risk of catastrophic fire and loss of property around the pond. 

This year, these agencies again provided a free brush chipping program to pond area residents. For several weeks, residents cleared brush and vegetation inside defensible space areas around their homes, piling the wood and debris on the side of the road. The Maine Forest Service then provided a wood chipper, operator, and some local volunteers to chip the wood and brush and haul away the chips. They were assisted in their efforts by staff from the Auburn Fire Department.  

During the five-year period between 2006 and 2010, the Maine Forest Service recorded 1,235 wildland fires in the Southern District of Maine, burning an estimated total area of 1,043 acres.   

A recent assessment of wildfire risk at Taylor Pond indicated that it fell into the “moderate” risk category overall, with some high and low risk areas. The Maine Forest Service identified inadequate defensible space – along with flammable vegetation inside that defensible space – as the greatest source of Taylor Pond’s elevated risk.  

This community effort to reduce wildfire risk around Taylor Pond was sponsored by State Farm, which offered a $500 grant to provide residents with tools to help clear their property.  

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