Maine Fire Fighters Return from Quebec 

It’s been a very long two weeks for 21 wild land fire fighters They arrived back in Maine Saturday, after battling the La Tuque wildfires in Canada.A chartered plane arrived in Bangor around 11:30 a.m. The fire fighters were then bussed to the Maine Forest Service Central Region headquarters in Old TownRecord-breaking heat and lightning storms sparked more than 120 wildfires in Quebec at the end of May.You may remember smelling smoke from those fires earlier this month.Six Maine forest rangers as well as 15 Maine fire fighters trained in wild land fires, headed up north on May 29th, at the request of Quebec.But just one day after arriving, the crews were pulled off the fire amid safety concerns.For the next few days, they set up pumps, dug firelines and protected a small community that had been evacuated.Towards the end of the mission, the fire fighters were flown by helicopter to remote spots where flames were still smoldering.”It was a lot of fun,” says Sam Heffner, a Maine Forest Ranger. “it’s excellent experience for all the guys that go up there. All of the guys here at least had a basic wild land fire fighting course. But this hands on experience is where they really learn, so it was an excellent experience for all of us and we were able to help out Quebec.”This was Heffner’s third trip to Quebec to fight wildfires.The fire in northeastern Quebec burned 50,000 acres.Maine fire fighters are part of the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact with Canada.