Monday, September 24, 2012

The Great Fire of 1947

US Route 1 Kennebunk/Biddeford
Portland Press Herald photo
  I was almost seven years old in October 1947, Bar Harbor/Mount Desert Island was already about half gone, and now York Country was burning too.  I lived in York County, and it was a scary time.
The Towns of Shapliegh and Waterboro were particularly badly hit, most of both towns was destroyed by the fire, 16 people died and 2500 homes were gone by the time the fire was over.
  Our house, in Lebanon, was about 12 miles from my Grandparents house in Shapliegh so my mother was worried about them.  We could stand outdoors and the ash was falling all day and night, kind of like snow flurries.  At night the whole sky was orange, the flames of an out of control forest fire are large.
  The fire was eventually put out by man and nature but the evidence was visible for years, as it takes time for the woods to grow back.  I can remember the papers printing large headlines announcing that the fires were out.
  That's the way it was in September/October 1947 - scary for a small boy.
Students from Bate College join in
fighting the fire; with brooms.

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