The Maine Forest Service is monitoring the area where a wildfire burned for five hours Tuesday, destroying about 2 acres of marsh on the Winslow-China municipal boundary.

The Forest Service and the Winslow Fire Department were at the scene again around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday because of reported hot spots.

Hot spots are the result of a fire burning into the duff layer of soil, said Ranger Lisa Byers. When the sun comes out and heats things up, the dirt gets hot and can burn trees and surrounding brush.

Byers said the area had about 12 to 20 hot spots. They were suppressed in the morning and are still under control, she said during a phone call around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, a fire was reported near Maple Ridge Road by someone driving on China Road, which is Route 137, and was not extinguished until about 4:30 p.m.

While the cause is still under investigation, Winslow Fire Chief David LaFountain said a fire pit may have been the cause. The Forest Service classified Tuesday as a class 3 fire danger day for central Maine, which is high.

The remaining hot spots can develop into fires in their own right, depending on what kind of soil they’re on, Byers said. The area on the China-Winslow line is duff soil that’s covered with softwood needles, so it would be prone to becoming a fire, she said, especially with the current dry weather.

The Forest Service set up a 0.5-acre sprinkler system in the area to keep the hot spots under control, and they’re also regularly checking up on the area. The service hopes to turn the sprinklers off Wednesday night, when it might rain. Byers said the agency will keep using the sprinkler system until it rains enough to potentially extinguish the hot spots, but they will still monitor them afterward. If the hot spots are bad enough, they can continue even after a rainstorm.

People should avoid the area, she said, because of overhead hazards from half-burned tree limbs that could fall.

The investigation is ongoing. Byers asked that anyone who saw people or a boat around the area of Mud Pond or on the island around the time of the fire call her 624-7076.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour