PEI

70 firefighters respond as brush fire picks up in high wind

One home was evacuated as 60 to 70 firefighters battled a fire and heavy smoke in rows of brush that started as a controlled burn at the Vanco Farms property in northern Queens County on Wednesday.

Property owner apologetic as 7 departments respond, neighbour's house evacuated

Firefighters called in to extinguish fire in Covehead that created excessive smoke

CBC News PEI

11 months ago
0:47
Fire chief Jason Blackman talks about the massive effort 0:47

One home was evacuated as 60 to 70 firefighters battled a fire and heavy smoke in rows of brush that started as a controlled burn at the Vanco Farms property in northern Queens County on Wednesday.

Jason Blackman, chief of the North Shore fire department, said they received a call of heavy smoke along the Black River Road in West Covehead at about 8 a.m. The fire was extinguished and crews turned the scene over to provincial forestry officials at about 5:30 p.m. 

Seven fire departments responded, Blackman said.

The house across the street from the property was evacuated as a precaution. The fire was under control but excessive smoke was a concern, Blackman said. 

North River fire Chief Jason Blackman says the department received a call of heavy smoke coming from the Black River Road area at around 8 a.m. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Blackman said piles of brush about 4.5 metres high were on fire. The entire Vanco property in West Covehead is about 25 hectares.

Vanco co-owner Willem Van Nieuwenhuyzen said they had a burn permit and five experienced staff monitoring the fire, but the wind changed and picked up.

Piles of brush and stumps about 4.5 metres high were billowing smoke. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

He said he's sorry for what happened and the inconvenience to the fire departments and people who live in that area.

Van Nieuwenhuyzen said he is co-operating with the investigation.

Blackman said the property owner could be fined and billed for the cost of putting the fire out.

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With files from Brian Higgins

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