Feel­ing the heat

Cor­ner Brook woman de­scribes fright, sur­prise of real­iz­ing there was a for­est fire while on Blow-me-down Brook trail

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY GARY KEAN

Kelly Web­ber thought some­one must have been hav­ing a camp­fire in the area as she made her way out from the Blow-medown Brook swim­ming hole Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

As she, along with her niece and nephew, got a lit­tle fur­ther along the trail, the smell of smoke got stronger.

Then, a man came run­ning in the op­po­site di­rec­tion to­wards them, ask­ing if any­one else was still in at the pool area. The ur­gency in his voice was an ob­vi­ous in­di­ca­tor some­thing was afoot.

“He told us the trail was on fire,” Web­ber said.

A for­est fire had bro­ken out near the trail and pop­u­lar swim­ming area. Sur­prised to hear what was hap­pen­ing, Web­ber told the man there were still four young peo­ple at the swim­ming area. She then led the kids she was with back to the safety of their ve­hi­cle. Luck­ily ev­ery­one got out be­fore the fire spread and cut off the trail.

Be­fore Web­ber and her group got back to the park­ing lot, they en­coun­tered a sec­tion of wooden board­walk that was black­ened and would glow bright orange with cin­ders when a gust of wind came up.

“We could feel the heat of the fire,” she said, not­ing the veg­e­ta­tion not far from the board­walk was in flames. “It was scary.”

Web­ber said the teenaged boys who came out af­ter them re­ported the flames be­ing al­most as tall as they were by the time they went through the most pre­car­i­ous sec­tion of the trail.

Be­fore long, fire­fight­ers from the pro­vin­cial De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources were on the scene to bat­tle the fire es­ti­mated to be about three hectares in size. A wa­ter bomber soaked the scene from the air for about three hours in the early stages of the ef­fort.

The crew was back Thurs­day to put out any hot spots.

Gary For­ward, the prov­ince’s for­est fire duty of­fi­cer, said the fire had been 75 per cent con­tained by Thurs­day af­ter­noon and a crew of five was con­tin­u­ing to ex­tin­guish it into the evening hours. The fire­fight­ers were ex­pected to re­turn to the scene this morn­ing to con­tinue mon­i­tor­ing for flare-ups.

For­ward said it was too early to de­ter­mine the cause of the fire, but it will be in­ves­ti­gated.

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