Sprucewold Column: Thanks Linekin Heights

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 11:00am

As our season winds down, Sprucewold activity has suddenly slowed down as the younger families head home as schools open and jobs call. Except for Saturday evening! A delightful season ending treat was put on by the Linekin Heights Association. Linekin Heights had the fireplace and barbecue at the Green restored earlier this season and this was their way of thanking all those who contributed to the effort. It was a terrific evening of camaraderie that lingered well into the night until the mosquitoes arrived. It would be great if the Linekin Heights would spearhead this as an annual event and I am sure the other associations would help with this as well. If you enjoyed yourself as much as Gail and I did, a note to Bill Cossaboon thanking Linekin Heights for their effort would be in order. Put this one on your calendar for next year.

Gail and I attended the open house at the Eastside Park event a few Sundays ago. It was a wonderful day and an even better turnout for a proposed major improvement to the east side. If you haven’t already done so, consider a donation to this worthy effort.

As we joined the crowd at the open house, Jean Ballo greeted me with, “My gosh, it is Mr. Firewise!” Some days I get up feeling like the reincarnation of Smokey Bear. Being greeted like that leads me to believe that the message and activities of the Firewise Committee are beginning to stick: A wildfire in Sprucewold would be a devastating event and we all need to be cognizant of that fact. I was also greeted by Sarah Stedt when we walked up to the gathering at the Green: “Ralph, I want you to know there is a spark arrester on the chimney!” This barbecue and fireplace has been inspected and approved by our Boothbay Harbor Fire Chief Nick Upham.

So it is time once again for my annual message: Open burning of any kind is not a good idea in Sprucewold. The issue is generally not the fire itself but rather embers from the fire that escape into the spruce canopy above or into the pine needles below.. Something as simple as throwing a log on the fire can be the cause. Once the fire starts in these locations, it becomes very difficult to stop particularly with the prevailing southwest wind that blows through Sprucewold. You should be aware that you and anyone who rents your cabin are subject to Title 12 S 9321 – 6 of the Maine fire laws, which says that anyone who causes a fire to get out of control, commits a class E felony and may also have to pay restitution for wildfire suppression costs. Class E felonies, upon conviction, carry jail time of up to one year and a $1000 fine plus you may also be assessed for the wildfire suppression. Not worth an open fire in my book!

I also want to thank all who participated in our annual Firewise Chipping Program and cabin wildfire assessment days this summer. We removed two large truckloads of chips which adds up to almost 40 tons of brush removed in the last seven years. Chipping Day next summer will most likely be in early August.

Seven cabins were assessed by the Maine Forest Service this summer. In reviewing all of the assessments that have been done (now totaling about 40), the most common concerns by Ranger Kent Nelson seem to be: 1. Failure to create a 30-foot defensive space around the cabin, 2. Accumulated leaves, pine needles and debris on roofs, in gutters and in nooks and crannies at the base of the cabin, and 3. Lumber and other materials stored under the cabins. If all of us continue to be alert to these conditions and remedy them, Sprucewold will remain a safer community. Stay safe, my friends, and enjoy what is left of our summer.