A fire near St. Patricks could have caused a headache this week, but it was quickly put out by Little Bay Fire Department
What appears to be a pile of organic materials that were on the side of Whales Back Road near St. Patrick’s could have caused a lot of grief for local residents this week after it was found ablaze, according to Little Bay Fire Chief Annette Colbourne.
Little Bay Fire Department was called to the scene of the fire on Wednesday, after a passerby noticed smoke coming from the area and called it in.
Colbourne says there was a lot of debris in the area that was on fire.
“It looked to be grass or something of that nature, and nearby there were some household items as well, including a couch,” she said.
Colbourne says it’s hard to tell if the debris was ignited intentionally in the location, or how long it’s been there.
“There have been reports in the past of people dumping stuff in that area,” she said. “Farther in, away from where the fire happened there’s a lot of stuff people obviously dumped there from what appears to be a house that was torn down or renovated – there’s even a kitchen sink in there.”
With the hot weather in the past days, it’s caused a very dry condition in the region, which Colbourne says could have been the demise since the fire was in a wooded area, and the wind was headed towards St. Patrick’s.
“Luckily we got there in time to contain it, and nothing else caught and the fire couldn’t spread,” she said.
Corporal Flynn with RCMP in Springdale said its nearly impossible to tell what caused the fire, thus it’s hard to pursue with an investigation.
“We can only know what caused the fire if someone comes forward with information that we can use,” he said. “It’s impossible to know if it was started intentionally or if it was caused by the heat, and other factors.”
Flynn says while it sounds unlikely that the debris could have caught fire from the sun’s rays, or the extreme heat, it’s not impossible.
“I’ve seen it before where the conditions have been to the point where it will cause something to catch fire, so it’s not unheard of.”
Dan Myles, Provincial Duty Officer with the Department of Natural Resources says that people should keep in mind that illegal dumping is a serious offence, no matter what material it is.
Also, he says people should express caution when it comes to having fires this time of year, since the risk of it spreading is increased.
“Right now the Forest Fire Risk is at a Medium in the Springdale area, so people should definitely exercise caution whenever having open fires of any kind, due to the dry conditions.”
He says the Department is asking people to exercise common sense in the matter.
“Definitely don’t light any fires around brush or other trees,” he said. “And always be sure that the fire is monitored and controlled – lighting a fire someone and walking away without it being doused is an unsafe practice, no matter what the conditions are.”
Edit: A previous version of this story had Fire Chief Colbourne misquoted.