Recent fire activity, unseasonably dry weather, lack of precipitation and projected environmental conditions over the holiday weekend make wildfires a greater threat, and Maine Forest Service is asking people to be extremely careful with any outdoor fires, especially over the holiday weekend.

There has been an increase in wildfires this year, and with the current forecast for warm and dry weather over the Fourth of July, there could be more, the Forest Service said June 30 in a news release. Recent precipitation was not consistent statewide and some areas received less than a half-inch of rain. Lightning associated with thunderstorms may have also ignited dry timber and slash.

So far in 2016, there have been 464 wildfires throughout Maine that have burned a total of 752 acres. This is roughly 12 percent more fires and affected acreage than from the entire 2015 fire season.

The most common causes of wildfires are escaped burning debris and equipment (machines), the news release said. "Most of these fires are caused by people being careless and are preventable. Either the fire gets away from them, or they fail to fully extinguish the fire and it rekindles the next day."

Wildfire activity this past week:

Mount Abrams Township – 43 acres

Cathance Township Fire – 30 acres

Harpswell – 3 acres

Gouldsboro – 2 acres

Weld, near Mount Blue – 1 acre

Maine Forest Service advises people to check with their local fire department before burning brush piles or having a campfire. Burn permits are required for burning brush and in some municipalities, campfire permits are also required. For those who want to burn in the unorganized townships, please contact the Regional Headquarters for the Maine Forest Service Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Augusta 624-3700, Old Town 827-1800, and Ashland 435-7963.

Maine Forest Service also has an online burn permit system for brush pile fires only; visit for more details.