The 1947 Fires

Extreme fire behavior in Arundel Maine during October 1947

In 1947, the State of Maine suffered its largest forest fire disaster in modern history. The state experienced over 90 consecutive days of record breaking high temperatures and drought. By mid-October, many small wildfires started and spread out of control.  Statewide, these fires burned over 220,000 acres, burned 1000 homes, left 2,500 people homeless and 16 people dead. The damages totaled over 11 million dollars at that time. The map below indicates the major fires of October 1947.

In the last 70 years, firefighting equipment, communication, training and fire prevention efforts have improved considerably, yet humans still cause over 90% of wildfires in Maine. Maine’s Forest Rangers encourage you to remember the hard lessons of the past and be careful with all outdoor fires. For more information on how you can help prevent wildfires, please visit the “Firewise” section of this website or click on the link below to view our award winning video called “Defensible Space, it could save your home from a wildfire.”

The 1947 fires video: