McGee Lake dump fire extinguished, now under control: fire officials

Click to play video: 'Massive fire at dump under control' Massive fire at dump under control
WATCH ABOVE: Things are finally getting back to normal in the community of McGee Lake, N.S., near Kentville. For the better part of the week, a fire has been burning at a large dump site there. Global’s Natasha Pace has more – Mar 27, 2016

More than a dozen fire stations have been working to tackle a blaze that started at a dump site in McGee Lake, N.S., on Tuesday.

Sunday afternoon, officials confirmed that fire is now under control.

“The majority of the fire has been extinguished,” said Scott Hamilton, Deputy Fire Chief, Kentville Fire Department.

“There are still a few hot spots, so we haven’t been able to deem the fire as out at this point,” said Hamilton. “We’re in a monitoring phase.”

READ: Construction site fire prompts air quality advisory

Over the last five days, 75 volunteer firefighters in and around the Kentville, N.S., area have given their time and resources to help fight the stubborn blaze.

Story continues below advertisement

“This has been one longest fires that I’ve been involved in,” said Hamilton.

“We’ve estimated we’ve probably flown close to a million gallons of water in a single day and we’ve been there for five days, so potentially up to five million gallons of water have been flown on that pile of debris.”

The fire at McGee Lake is believed to have started through spontaneous combustion. It may seem unusual, but experts say it actually happens quite frequently.

“Large piles of municipal waste, irrespective of what it is, can lead to some problems and this is a perfect example,” said Richard Buggeln, retired.

Buggeln has done years of research about spontaneous combustion and written multiple reports on the topic through the University of Tennessee Centre for Industrial Services.

Since the fire started, many in the community of Lake Echo, N.S., have been concerned about whether or not something similar could happen at a proposed construction and demolition site in their area.

A site that the community has been vocal about not wanting in their backyard.

MORE: Hundreds show up to public meeting over proposed waste site in Lake Echo

Buggeln says any site where wood waste is processed has the potential to spontaneously combust. “They have to cut up wood waste to turn it into charcoal, or to turn it into compost,” he said. “It can lead to problems unless the material is stockpiled in a way that you increase your chances of not inviting spontaneous combustion to occur.”

Story continues below advertisement

Buggeln believes government should ensure there are proper regulations in place around these types of sites in the future.

“People have to be trained, people meaning operators of sites and currently there’s no requirement within the province and pretty much within Canada for training,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the things that’s kept firefighters going this week has been the support of the community. People of all ages have stepped forward to help volunteers by donating food and supplies.

Sponsored content