May 11, 2015 2:56 PM

Fire spotters fight for funding of old fire tower on NH/Maine border

YORK, Maine - A group of volunteers is hoping to raise $10,000 to fund the repair and remodel of an old fire tower that sits atop Mt. Agamenticus, which looks over the N.H./Maine border.

"You can see everything all around the coast," said Tyler Elton, who was walking the near the tower on Monday morning.

Firefighters said it's this view that makes their tower so important.

For decades, the fire tower has been owned by the Maine Forest Service - but they stopped staffing it and cut funding in the 1990's. However, those who man the tower said its need is greater today more than ever because the number of homes being built in heavily wooded areas is increasing.

Today, the tower is falling apart - wooden boards and stairs are rotting, and windows are broken out.

The radio used to call in fires is outdated, and a map used for locating the fires is from the 1940's.

“If it’s rotting – like a hazard – then they should definitely replace it with a new one," Elton said.

But the fight for funding hasn't been easy.

An online campaign has been launched to raise about $10,000 by a group of volunteers to purchase what's needed to make the tower safe again. Locals said it's a fight they're willing to support.

"I think especially in this area because it’s so wooded, that if someone could spot a fire before it gets out of control, that’s only going to help us," said Marilyn Johnson, who hikes near the fire tower regularly.

So far this year, fire spotters said they have reported 10 fires and spent more than 65 hours in 2 weeks in the tower during the brush fire season.


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