Field fire poses challenge for ND fire service

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A field fire in the area of County Road 3 and Lafleur Road between Winchester and Chesterville is under control after giving North Dundas firefighters a challenge that lasted several days. The fire began some time around May 13. After battling the fire for several days, the blaze seemed to be out, but fire vehicles returned on May 19. As of late last week, the fire was still smouldering, but was controllable.

A resident whose mother lives across the road from where the fire burned explained that the fire resulted from “burning slash piles on recently cleared land”. The resident suggested that the original fire started back in March, and flared up again on May 13 as a result of gusty winds and warm weather. “The land is boggy, and the fire has gotten into the peat, which means it could burn for a while,” the resident speculated.

The fire was significant enough that many area fire departments outside of North Dundas were called in to help. These included fire services from Russell, Embrun, North Stormont, and North Grenville. As is typical in times of need, local businesses stepped up to the plate to provide food and drinks for firefighters who were working on scene. “To keep all the firefighters fueled with food and beverages, a huge thank you goes out to Louis’ Restaurant, Foodland, Milano Pizzeria, and Mr. Mozzarella,” reads a social media post from the Township of North Dundas. “Thank you again to all of the fire services who jointly worked together to control the blaze and keep the community safe.”

Two days after the fire was considered to be under control, the resident whose mother lives across the street noted that the smoke hadn’t yet gone away, which is when fire vehicles returned. “Any time the wind blows from the north, my mother’s yard fills with smoke, and it infiltrates the house,” she said. “I spoke with someone at the Township this morning, and he told me the fire is difficult to fight because the ground where it’s burning is too soft and boggy for heavy equipment, and the fire burned through hoses placed on the ground.”

Moorewood Station Chief Ken Byers informed the Times on May 24 that the fire was “still smouldering” as of that day. “We are monitoring daily!” said Chief Byers. “The main challenge to putting it out is that the wind keeps refuelling the piles.”

As usual, the Times extends a word of “thanks” to local and area firefighters for their diligent work in keeping residents safe, and for keeping this blaze from spreading.

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