Firefighters battle blaze near Old Pennywell Road

James
James McLeod
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Firefighters spent the late afternoon combatting flames in the woods near Old Pennywell Road and Columbus Drive in St. John’s Thursday.

A water bomber repeatedly dumped water on the fires. On the ground, forestry officials and firefighters lugged hoses into the woods to battle the blaze.

Plenty of police were in the area, and an RNC officer was spotted near the blaze asking bystanders if they’d seen anyone running from the woods, but St. John’s Fire Services Supt. Robert Fowler said it was too early to speculate about the cause.

The smallest of the three fires was quickly put out, and the water bomber then focused on the larger two.

“The fire is being contained. We’re working with forestry in the air and on the ground. We have forestry crews in with our crews right now. They’re working on the ground part of it, and we’re talking to forestry in the air,” Fowler said.

 

“There’s a helicopter going around doing surveillance, and there’s a Sandpiper that comes in to notify that there’s a drop being made, and then the water bomber will come behind that and make the drop,” Fowler said. He said firefighters had a few different factors working in their favour.

“There’s not a whole lot of wind; that’s working for us,” he said. “There’s a cutout for the new highway going across, so that’s acting as almost a natural fire break for us today.”

The fire seemed mostly contained to the cleared land that will become part of the interconnect between Columbus Drive and the new Team Gushue Highway that is under construction.

Fowler said it’s been dry recently, but the risk of forest fires isn’t particularly high this time of year.

“No more than any other year,” he said. “Yes, it’s been relatively dry this past while, but we’re early into the season so things could turn around in that regard.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: The Compass

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Canada Bay Roberts.If

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