70 firefighters respond as brush fire picks up in high wind
Property owner apologetic as 7 departments respond, neighbour's house evacuated
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.
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.
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