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Austin Wilkins interviewed by Joyce Butler


Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The “Wildfire Loose” Collection consists of a series of 37 interviews conducted by Joyce Butler in preparation for her book of the same title about the fires in Maine in October 1947. Donated in 1979.


  • Creation: 1976-1980


Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (


From the Collection: 37 items

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


1237 Austin Wilkins interviewed by Joyce Butler, March 30, 1977, Augusta, Maine. Wilkins, Fire Control Officer with the Forest Service in 1947, discusses the wildfires of 1947; development of fire bans and woods closures in Maine; open fire dumps; attempts to educate people about the fire dangers in 1947; local phenomenon of heavy winds; cleanup in Acadia National Park; deep burning (underground) fires; 1947 as turning point for mechanization of firefighting; limiting access to fires; why there were more fires in populated parts of state; the problem of slash; money never paid for firefighting equipment and services; rumors of arson; danger of backfires; use of chemical drench; development of the Interstate Forest Fire Compact; preparations the Forest Service made prior to the major fires; receiving hoses from the Army and Navy that were incompatible; why he considered the worst fire loss to be York County; lessons learned from the 1947 fires; legacy of the CCC; and the economic impact of the fires.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States