Moresby Island fire still smouldering

  • Jun. 8, 2011 8:00 a.m.

A forest fire that burned last week on Moresby Island had been contained, but not considered out as of June 7. Coastal Fire Centre spokesperson Donna MacPherson said someone will continue to observe the fire until a significant rain event to ensure it does not flare up again. The 10-hectare fire, reported at 6:30 pm on May 31, burned slash in a cut block 15 kilometres west of Moresby Camp. It was human-caused and is still under investigation, said Ms MacPherson. She said a local forest company responded immediately and a helicopter dumped buckets of water on the fire for the next two-and-a-half days to contain the spread. Ms MacPherson said the fire was initially very active, ranked 3 or 4 in their scale, meaning it was consuming ground and trees. She said the terrain is also very steep. The Coastal Fire Centre sent an initial attack team on June 1 made up of two officers and four crew who trained a team of 12 tree planters working in the area in fire fighting techniques to help put out the blaze. As of June 3, the team was cold trailing the quietened fire by feeling for heat and looking for smoky areas along the areas of slash. Ms MacPherson said when a hot or smoky area is found, fire fighters dig in and break up, soak or bury the hot spot. She said they intended to cool the fire by Monday when winds were expected to pick up. They also did infrared scans on the fire to pick up deeper hot spots. She said the fire was never a threat to Moresby Camp, where a group of grade 5 students was staying last week, or the road access to Moresby Camp. Besides being 15 kilometres away, she said many natural barriers such as rocky terrain and mountain tops would have kept the fire from threatening infrastructure.

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