Woods fire in Lake Rossignol consumes five hectares

by Keith Corcoran

Multiple volunteer fire departments, along with a Lands and Forestry chopper and ground crews, responded to a Queens County woods fire that ripped through terrain the size equivalent of about a half-a-dozen baseball diamonds.

The blaze was discovered around 1:45 p.m., April 26, off the River Road in the community of Lake Rossignol. The incident was found about six kilometres deep into woods east of Nine Mile Brook and west of Ten Mile Lake.

"It was some time before locating the base of the fire," John Long, a captain with the Liverpool volunteer fire department, told LighthouseNOW. "We could see the smoke."

Lisa Jarrett, a spokes person for the Department of Lands and Forestry, agreed, saying "finding the fire from the ground and obtaining access to the fire through the various woods roads was a challenge."

A nine-person crew from the department assisted at the scene, as did an agency helicopter.

"Water was a challenge as there wasn't a good water supply within approximately one kilometre of the fire," Jarrett told LighthouseNOW. "Staff also had to use caution around a powerline in the area which the fire ran under."

First responders ran some forestry hose, wore backpack pumps, and manoeuvred tanker trucks in their efforts to get the fire under control and out.

Volunteer crews from Liverpool, along with neighbouring agencies in North Queens, Port Medway, and Greenfield, worked the incident in terrain described as "rough" and "rocky."

Long said about 35 volunteer firefighters assisted in extinguishing what he described as a "substantial fire" that consumed about five hectares. There were no injuries.

Lands and Forestry is unable to determine the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, two other multi-alarm grass fires broke out in the region on the same day.

Northfield district volunteer firefighters were summoned to the corner of Harris Drive and Glendale Avenue in Lower Branch to deal with a fire initially reported to be 15-by-15 metres in size. Additional crews were summoned from Midville district and Bridgewater to help put the fire out.

Northfield district fire chief, Darren Mulock, said a "tree on the powerlines" contributed to the blaze.

Then, at 4:20 p.m., Hemford district volunteer firefighters were summoned to a ditch fire spreading to the woods off Highway 208 in Colpton, west of the Highway 325 intersection. Additional responders from Midville, New Germany and North Queens were called to this incident.

Jarrett called it a spot fire that burned less than a hectare. "The cause was determined to be an individual burning bush," she said. "The Lands and Forestry Officer provided the individual with information about the provincial burn ban."

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