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Firefighters from Kings, Hants counties battle blaze on remote Black River Lake island

A Lands and Forestry helicopter pilot drops a load of water on a fire burning on a remote island in Kings County Aug. 28. After arriving via boat, firefighters launched a ground attack to tackle the remaining flames. - JENNIFER DANIELS PHOTO
A Lands and Forestry helicopter pilot drops a load of water on a fire burning on a remote island in Kings County Aug. 28. After arriving via boat, firefighters launched a ground attack to tackle the remaining flames. - JENNIFER DANIELS PHOTO

Cause of blaze under investigation

HANTSPORT, N.S. —

An investigation is underway after a fire broke out on a privately-owned island in a remote part of Kings County Aug. 28.

Volunteers from multiple fire departments were required to help extinguish the blaze, which was called in shortly after 2 p.m.

Paul Maynard, a deputy fire chief with the Hantsport Fire Department, said extinguishing the fire was truly a collaborative effort.

“The call came in as a brush and possible forest fire in a location that’s actually in Kings County,” said Maynard. However, due to its proximity to Hants County, it fell under Hantsport’s jurisdiction.

“A cottage owner noticed some smoke coming up from an island in the middle of the lake and called 911 to report it,” said Maynard.

“All of the fire departments that responded are quite a distance from this location so it’s actually Hantsport Fire’s area.”

They accessed it from Duck Pond Road, which is near Mines Road in Falmouth.

Fire crews from Summerville, Brooklyn, Windsor, Hantsport (including the Southwest Hants substation), Wolfville, Greenwich, Canning, New Minas, Kentville, and New Ross assisted, either by providing firefighters and equipment, or providing stand-in coverage. Lands and Forestry was involved with the call, as was Public Safety and Field Communications, and paramedics with Emergency Health Services.

The island doesn’t have any building lots on it, Maynard said.

“We’re not quite sure what caused the fire; Lands and Forestry personnel are investigating,” the deputy chief noted.

The Lands and Forestry helicopter was dispatched to the location and arrived first on scene. The pilot began “bucketing the fire,” which involved dropping loads of water on the blaze, and helped knock down a fair amount of the fire before the ground crews arrived.

“We couldn’t access it by land. We needed several boats to move equipment and crews over to the island to fight the fire by ground,” Maynard said. “We used boats from New Minas, Windsor, and Canning to do that, and some private boats to take some pumps and some fire hose and ground equipment over.”

Accessing the site was challenging.

“With the logistics of transporting for probably 10-15 minutes to the island and back again, we had to do a lot of coordination with the boats to try to get people in and out,” he said.

The summer’s heat also made the fire call that much more challenging, Maynard added.

One firefighter was treated on scene by paramedics for heat exhaustion.

By 8 p.m., the fire had been extinguished and crews were heading back to their stations. Maynard said they are hoping the tropical storm that’s predicted to hit Nova Scotia Aug. 29 will indeed bring some much-needed rain to the area’s dry forests.

“With the rain that’s supposedly coming, we’re hoping that will definitely dampen out anything else that might pop up,” said Maynard.

He encouraged everyone to check the provincial regulations daily to determine if it’s safe to use a fire pit, have a campfire or burn brush. Visit: https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe/ or call 1-855-564-2876 (BURN) for up-to-date information.

A Lands and Forestry helicopter pilot drops a load of water on a fire burning on a remote island in Kings County Aug. 28. After arriving via boat, firefighters launched a ground attack to tackle the remaining flames. - JENNIFER DANIELS PHOTO
A Lands and Forestry helicopter pilot drops a load of water on a fire burning on a remote island in Kings County Aug. 28. After arriving via boat, firefighters launched a ground attack to tackle the remaining flames. - JENNIFER DANIELS PHOTO

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