Firefighters on P.E.I.'s North Shore are mopping up the last few hot spots of a forest fire that started Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, which started mid-afternoon Tuesday, was still burning in some areas of low brush Wednesday morning. Officials were concerned that as the sun warmed up the surrounding area it could flare up again.

The fire burned about 40 hectares of land. At one point Tuesday high winds whipped the fire up into the tops of trees, where it jumped from crown to crown.

A crew of 35 was on hand Wednesday morning building fire breaks with two bulldozers and two water tankers, but firefighters were starting to head home by midday.

Dan McAskill, director of fire protection services for the department of forestry, said the fire was in a vulnerable state early in the day.

"Because of the fuel type it is and with the winds coming up, basically the weather conditions are going to make things worse," said McAskill.

Six homes in the Pleasant Grove-Covehead area were evacuated Tuesday evening while firefighters tried to contain the fire. The residents were able to return to their homes around 10:30 p.m.

Conditions remain high risk

The forest fire weather index remains high in the province, with another warm, sunny day Wednesday.

Forestry officials are worried more fires, like the one in Pleasant Grove, could break out if people aren't careful.

"Anything that involves outdoor flames, from a barbecue to a cigarette to a match, anything like that needs to be used with extreme caution," said Ken Mayhew, an information officer with the Department of Forestry.

"We were lucky last night. We don't seem to have any major structural losses, certainly no loss of life, but a situation like that can quickly turn very ugly and I don't think anyone would want that on their conscience."


Smoke billows from the trees at Covehead. (Submitted by Paul Stewart)


Firefighters work to keep the fire from jumping the highway. (CBC)