The Mt. Agamenticus Fire Tower sits atop a small hill in York, ME, on the southern most tip of the state. The tower is one of only three in the State of Maine that are still manned each year by volunteers. All of the other fire towers throughout the state are vacant and falling apart.
In 1991, after the Maine Forest Service closed all of the fire towers throughout the state and replaced them with airplane patrols, a small group of firefighters from the area got together and decided to keep these three towers active. They believed that a firetower in a fixed location was more effective in spotting fires than an airplane that travels through the area only once or twice a day. Through the efforts of this small group of volunteers, the Mt. Agamenticus Fire Tower, Mt. Hope Fire Tower in Sanford ME, and the Ossippee Hill Fire Tower in Waterboro, ME were refurbished and staffed each season.
The Fire Towers play a vital role in the southern portion of the state when it comes to spotting outside fires before they become too large and out of control. With the amount of new homes being built within heavily wooded areas, it is even more important these days to have these towers active during dry seasons. Currently this year the Mt. Agamenticus Fire Tower has spotted 10 fires along the southern portion of Maine and New Hampshire and has logged 65 man-hours in 12 days.
Currently the Mt. Agamenticus Fire Tower is owned by the Maine Forest Service, but they rely on the volunteers to maintain the upkeep of the tower in order for us to be able to staff it with volunteers. It has been years since we have had any sort of funding to maintain the tower. After a few very harsh winters, the Mt. Agamenticus Fire Tower is in serious trouble. The stairs leading up to the cab need to be replaced, as well as each landing. The wood boards are falling apart and you can see through many of them. The cabin is in even worse shape. The cabin, the most important part of the whole operation, needs new windows, new siding, no interior walls and floors and a completely new catwalk around the cabin. Several windows are completely broken out and are temporarily fixed with pieces of plexiglass. The maps in the tower are outdated, dating back to the 1940s. Finding new maps that will match the scale of the triangulation equipment was next to impossible 10 or 15 years ago. However, with new technology available today, it may be possible to find, but we don’t know what the cost would be. The radio equipment is outdated and needs to be replaced. The radios are vital when it comes to reporting a fire to the responsible agency.
Our goal is to raise enough funding to completely rebuild all of the stairs and the cabin through donations and crowd funding as well as replace outdated equipment. We feel that $10,000 should be a good start. This Fire Tower benefits all cities and towns throughout the southern Maine and New Hampshire areas at no cost to any agency. Please take a minute and donate to this cause. Any amount will help.
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