A combusting compost in the backyard was the source of surprise for the mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay over the weekend.

Jamie Snook said he was talking on his phone in his yard on a day when temperatures reached 34 C in the town, when he noticed smoke coming from his wooden compost box.

Snook said the compost then did something he never imaged it could: it caught fire.

"I could see smoke coming from my composter and I was in a bit of disbelief, and I walked over and looked at the compost to see what's going on and then right in front of my two eyes, it burst into flame right there in front of me," he said.

"At this point I had to tell the person on the phone, 'I gotta go, there's a situation with my composter.' And as funny as it sounds, at the time it was unnerving because it was such a hot day and there was a bit of a breeze."

Snook said he was concerned the fire could have spread in the hot temperatures, but he grabbed a hose and put the fire out.

He added he learned a lesson about the necessity of properly tending a compost and keeping the soil beneath moist in the extreme heat.