Seven responders from the three Harpswell Fire Departments (Jack Stokinger from Harpswell Neck; Mason Smith, Mike Hartman, and Rosie Buonauito from Orr’s & Bailey Island; and Meriel Longley, Mario Baldi, and Steve Rowe from Cundy’s Harbor) recently participated, along with 43 other members of fire departments throughout the State of Maine, in a wildland fire training course offered by the Maine Forest Service. The training was composed of 3 online courses, each followed by exams. Those who passed could apply for certificates, which would make them eligible for in-the-field practical training. The practical training was held on April 15, 2023, off Breakwater Farm Road in Cape Elizabeth.
Last summer, Harpswell had several woodland fires, including a 3-day burn on Great Island. These may have served as part of the impetus for the large attendance from Harpswell this year. Woodland firefighting requires a different skill set, different clothing, and different gear than is required to fight house fires. Of note is the fact that these courses are open to non-firefighter members of the public. Once trained, certified individuals may volunteer to work alongside regular firefighters putting out woods and fields fires.