Officials trying to pinpoint where the fire started have found what they think is a marijuana-growing operation, said Monte Mitchell of the state Department of Natural Resources Forest Service.
Mitchell said the fire may have been caused by people — possibly trespassers — throwing away burning materials.
A Queen Anne’s County drug task force has taken over the investigation of the marijuana farm, Mitchell said.
Dale Patrick, a spokesman for the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that seven marijuana plants that weren’t burned were confiscated and destroyed by the task force.
He declined to offer more details of the investigation, which remains open.
The fire was discovered in the early morning hours of June 24. Smoke drifted south toward St. Michaels, where at least one person called 911.
Fire crews eventually found the fire on privately owned timberland on the southern end of Kent Island off Route 8 in the Romancoke area.
Putting out the fire required 200 to 250 firefighters. They dug fire lines around the blaze’s perimeter, and an Army helicopter scooped water from the Chesapeake Bay to douse the flames.
Weeks later, the Romancoke fire still isn’t fully extinguished.
“We’re checking it every few days now to make sure the fire stays contained,” Mitchell said.
He said dry weather has kept the fire from burning itself out.
“We have a few spots that are popping up now and then,” he said.
There’s no official damage estimate.
Anyone with information about the marijuana-growing operation can call 410-758-TIPS (8477).
By Pamela Wood. Sourced from Capital Gazette.com