Groundhog's Gotta Go? Orchard Worker Sparks Fire Hunting Pest
Life imitated art at a Maine apple orchard recently when an employee decided to get rid of a pesky groundhog and ended up starting a brush fire.
Like the comedy film "Caddyshack" where groundskeeper Carl Spackler is tormented by a gopher (biologically different, but with some similar features) and uses unconventional methods to rid a golf course of the pest, the employee at Cooper Farm took unusual steps to remove a problem pest from the orchard.
"Can't make this stuff up," read a post from the Maine Forest Rangers Facebook page about the incident.
Can't Make This Stuff Up -— Maine Forest Rangers (@MaineRangers) April 22, 2018
Monmouth firefighters were able to stop this 2 acre fire in an apple orchard on the Norris Hill Road. Ranger Brad Bucknell investigated the cause and determined that a person trying "smoke out a woodchuck in its hole" caught the grass on fire. #MEFire pic.twitter.com/Zefv8Jz6oW
According to the Kennebec Journal, assistant fire chief in Monmouth, Maine, Ed Pollard said, "he was out pruning in the orchard and he saw (the) woodchuck, and decided he was going to smoke him out of that hole.”
That is exactly what he did. The worker, Ivan Campbell, stuffed smoldering grass into a woodchuck hole in an attempt to flush him out. There is no word as to if the woodchuck is gone, but the resulting 2-acre brush fire brought in firefighters from three communities.
There is no word on any charges being filed. The fire was one of many wildfires in the state.
The Maine Forest Service says the number of wildfires in the state is approaching 100 and that more than 60 acres have burned so far this year.
The other fires have been caused by some more routine sources such as one in Fairfield sparked by a powerline.
Another one in Old Town on Monday was caused by a campfire.
Ranger Nick Bolduc was on scene with Old Town's bravest as they contained a fire on Poplar Street this afternoon. The fire burned 1/2 acre and destroyed a wood shed. Ranger Bolduc said that the fire was caused by a campfire. #MEFire pic.twitter.com/9B27MmYByY— Maine Forest Rangers (@MaineRangers) April 22, 2018
Most of the state is in low to moderate wildfire danger on Tuesday but areas in the southern tier had high to very high risks.
Material from The Associated Press contributed to this story.