Don't be alarmed if you see fire trucks from across Mount Desert Island National Park Service Rangers and trucks near Echo Lake on Mount Desert Island on Saturday morning, June 2nd. Local agencies in conjunction with the National Park Service will be conducting a mutual aid drill from 8AM to 2 PM at the south end of Echo Lake, depending upon the weather and other contingencies.

In a press release Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider said “We hope this mutual aid drill will allow firefighters to collaborate across agencies and ultimately increase island wide emergency preparedness.”

The mutual aid drill revolves around a fictional scenario where a structural fire begins at the south end of Echo Lake in a park employee residence after an extended drought. No actual fire will be active during the entire drill. The fire continues to grow and move into the surrounding forest, toward park hiking trails, and a cluster of buildings at a summer camp. Firefighters will respond to Echo Lake and stabilize the fire.

Firefighters will then need to respond to the Beech Hill Road area to assess and formulate a plan to deal with an expanding wildland fire incident. Drill participants will lay hose and implement structure protection plans. The goal of this drill is to allow three levels of training:

  1. Volunteers and on the ground firefighters will practice with wildland fire equipment such as portable pumps and forestry hose,
  2. Department officers and staff will practice structure triage in a wildland fire setting, and
  3. Fire chiefs work together in a fast paced expanding crisis that may call for unified command.

Local response agencies from the towns of Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Bar Harbor, Maine Forest Service and Acadia National Park are actively involved in this fictional scenario. Off-island resources such as Hancock County Regional County Coordinators and other emergency management agencies will also be involved. The mutual aid drill is expected to host 20-40 participants.

All public facilities such as Echo Lake Road, Echo Lake parking lot, Echo Lake restrooms, and Echo Lake beach will be open during the same time as the mutual aid drill. Those wishing to view the scenario from a safe distance are encouraged to locate themselves safely away from the actual event

Backup date in the event of rain or other contingencies is set as Sunday June 3.