Fire crews spent Friday dousing hot spots and flare-ups at the site of one of the largest forest fires of the season in Saint-Paul, N.B., one that consumed a costly amount of timber and threatened a home.
“The fire has been classed as contained as of this morning,” said Nick Brown, a spokesperson with the N.B. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
He said that four tractors, one excavator and four municipal fire trucks along with help from nine municipal firefighters supported DNR crews in getting the more than 30-hectare fire contained on Thursday night.
Brown said firefighters set up pumps on Friday in order to suppress the fire and keep it out, and the department is asking people to “stay away from the area at this time for safety reasons.”
DNR said that crews will likely be on site until next week to prevent flare-ups in the smoldering timber.
Pierre Melanson said his timber crews were cutting and hauling logs when the fire broke out at the opposite end of the field and they had to rush to save their equipment.
“It was coming towards us and the wind was kind of blowing it up in the air and almost over us — it was scary,” he said.
He said that while high winds fanned the flames his crews managed to get the equipment out.
“Probably about $3-million worth of equipment that we had on the site here and we are running … to try to get them out before the fire got to them,” he said.
But what was left behind on Friday was hard to witness, he said, with $150,000 worth of timber destroyed and still smoldering. Melanson said his insurance isn’t likely to cover the loss.
It was also a close call for at least one homeowner according to Mark Henrie, Saint-Paul Fire Department’s deputy chief.
“We basically spent all of the afternoon and until supper protecting that house from the forest fire that was basically within 300 feet from the house,” said Henrie.
He said that crews spent several hours dousing the home with water while fire bombers dropped fire retardent to create a water break, saving the home.
“It feels really good to see the people we were able to help. We don’t get that opportunity to see that very often and it was a really good feeling,” he said,
The Department of Natural Resources says the cause of the fires is still under investigation.