2020-05-13

Port Joli fire consumes four hectares

by Keith Corcoran

Another week, another wildland fire in Queens County.

This time, emergency crews were sent May 3 to a smoke sighting in Port Joli, around 4:22 p.m.

Liverpool volunteer firefighters were dispatched after the wife of a lobster fisherman was told via radio by her husband about smoke he could see in Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. First responders were advised to go to the end of the Saint Catherines River Road.

The Liverpool department requested extra manpower and trucks from neighbouring crews in North Queens, Greenfield, and Port Medway.

"The first-responding units could see the smoke from Highway 103," John Long, a Liverpool fire captain, told LighthouseNOW.

They found a working fire in the woods, west of the Saint Catherines River Road, toward South West Port Mouton.

Long said the province's Department of Lands and Forestry made a determination that it would deal with fire suppression, given challenging access to the incident and time of day.

It's understood among responders knowledgeable in wildland fire suppression that flames weaken and slow after the sun goes down. However, night time firefighting is considered more hazardous. In the dark, the risk of injury is higher. Long said volunteer responders cleared from the area within a couple of hours.

Lands and Forestry crews declared the fire out on May 4, agency spokeswoman Lisa Jarrett told LighthouseNOW. Six department staffers were among responders dealing with the incident, she said.

The blaze consumed about four hectares of terrain. "The cause is still under investigation," according to Jarrett.

Nova Scotia remains under a no-burn restriction concerning open fires until May 15 in order to protect the province's forests during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jarrett added. This "prohibits open domestic fires for any purpose in woods or within 305 metres (1,000 feet) of woods in any part of the province."

"The public can report wildfires by calling 1-800-565-2224, or 911 if its an emergency."

A multi-alarm woods fire in Liverpool's district on April 26 burned about five hectares of terrain off the River Road in the community of Lake Rossignol. That incident was found about six kilometres deep into woods east of Nine Mile Brook and west of Ten Mile Lake. There was no word on what caused that blaze.

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