Hikers leave $5 to pay for Broad River forest fire

Forest fire scorches 32 hectares along Broad River.
Forest fire scorches 32 hectares along Broad River. Photo: Suzanne Verge
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 19-08-2020

A forest fire, believed to be started by hikers, that broke out Friday (Aug. 14) near Broad River is now largely contained.

Scott Tingley, manager of forest protection with the Department of Lands and Forestry, says the fire consumed 32 hectares over the weekend.

He says 20 staff and six volunteers from local fire departments were involved in knocking the fire down. The remote location had to be accessed using helicopters and ATVs. The only structure in the area was a cabin, which managed to escape any damage.

Cabin owner Suzanne Verge says she believes the fire was started on their property by some hikers.

“They left a note saying they came down the path and it got dark and they decided to stay by the water and made a fire,” Verge said. “I don’t know. Anyone using common sense wouldn’t have started a fire, as dry as it is because it’s going to burn down in to the ground.”

Verge is thankful the fire didn’t destroy their cabin but is baffled by the hikers' actions.

“Well, they left a note with five dollars saying here’s five dollars for the wood," she said. "But, you dingbat, why did you start a fire?”

Tinlgey says the fire is now 66 per cent contained.

“So that means, crews on the ground have most of it wrapped with hose and they’re just continuing to contain that outside perimeter, trying to limit the growth,” Tingley said.

He says crews don’t anticipate the fire will get any larger but they’re aware the forecast is calling for temperatures to rise later in the week.

“Where it’s burning so deep, our focus is on containing that outside perimeter so we do limit the growth,” Tiingley said.

He’s hearing from the crews the fire is burning at least a foot deep.

“When it get’s this dry it’s pretty challenging,” Tingley said. “They have to spend that much longer digging things up, putting water on it, digging it up again.”

He says those crews will be on site for the next few days to ensure the fire is fully out. The fire is the largest of eight that were burning in the province last week.

A dry hot summer has increased the fire risk for most of Nova Scotia and lead to burn bans being put in place. Tingley says the heavy rain that fell in parts of the province last week did provide some relief, but not for everyone.

“A lot of the areas where we really, really needed it, got only light amounts,” Tingley said.

He recommends people check the Nova Scotia burn safe website every day to learn whether or not it is safe to have a campfire.

Reported by Ed Halverson 
E-mail: edhalversonnews@gmail.com
Twitter: @edwardhalverson