Carp Brush Fire latest in a long, dry summer

Carp Brush Fire latest in a long, dry summer - OTTAWA — Ottawa firefighters used all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to battle a multi-hectare brush fire in Carp on Sunday afternoon that threatened a nearby subdivision.

Ottawa firefighters used all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to battle a multi-acre brush fire in Carp on Sunday afternoon that threatened a nearby subdivision.
 

Ottawa firefighters used all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to battle a multi-acre brush fire in Carp on Sunday afternoon that threatened a nearby subdivision.


The blaze, which was reported around 12:30 p.m., began about 500 metres northeast of the intersection of Carp Road and Craig Side Road north of the Carp Fairgrounds.

Firefighters responded to a call about smoke spotted north of the nearby Hidden Lakes subdivision and used ATVs to find the source of the smoke.

By late afternoon, the fire had expanded from less than one-half of a hectare on a ridge northeast of Carp Road to consume about 5.5 hectares of deciduous tree, said Ottawa Fire public information officer Marc Messier. The fire is located off Holland Hill Road, a gravel roadway that cuts through the Carp Hills north of the small village.

“There’s a bit of concern over the proximity to some nearby houses,” said Ottawa Fire Chief John deHooge, who was on the scene of the Carp bursh fire at 3 p.m. “It’s hot, dry, and there’s a breeze. That can change the conditions of a fire unexpectedly.”

The fire moved south and came within half a kilometre of the homes on Hidden Lake Crescent, Messier said, but crews stopped its advance just before 4 p.m. and had begun to contain its spread.

As a result of the fire, residents who use the Carp communal well were told not to drink the water. Bottled water was being distributed.

More than a dozen fire trucks were on the scene Sunday afternoon, with paramedics standing by to help the 95 firefighters on-scene to stay hydrated in the summer heat. Humidex values made it feel like 39 degrees C as firefighters swapped shifts clearing brush and fighting the fire.

Ottawa Fire Services brought in a helicopter to help spot the fire from the air and monitor its spread. The helicopter was also used to dump water as a precaution, deHooge said, to prevent it from moving south toward the Hidden Lake homes.

“I never saw it as dry back there in my life,” said Gord Holland, 66, whose property was used as a throughway for the firefighters. “It used to be a marsh and now there’s not a bit of water back there. Some of the ponds used to be three feet deep and now they’re dry. You can walk across it.”

Many Carp residents found their water either shut off completely or down to a trickle as the city diverts water to hoses to fight the fire. The municipality said only some neighbourhoods were being affected, but that the water disturbance could expand as the fight against the brush fire continues.

The blaze is the latest in a hot, dry summer for eastern Ontario. Grass and brush fires have been alarmingly frequent, with 52 calls to Ottawa Fire Services between Monday and mid-afternoon Friday, firefighters said.

“It’s been so dry, and it’s the same across the whole region,” said Susanna Wood, who lives next door to Holland on Carp Road. “I’m worried about a fire that starts from something as simple as a cigarette butt and gets out of control.”

A 40-hectare blaze in the city’s west end brought out more than 100 firefighters over several days, beginning July 12. It took firefighters nearly week to bring it under control, and spot fires have started up again during the past week.

“This is going to go on until we get rain, basically,” Messier said. “They were averaging between 10 and 20 hot spots a day earlier in the week. It’s in the ground now and we just have to stay on top and monitor it.”

Environment Canada calls for thunderstorms in the Ottawa area on Monday, accompanied by high winds and rain.

“It’ll help us if we get the rain,” Messier said. “Lightning could cause us some issues. We’ll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature throws at us.”

Ottawa Citizen
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Carp+brush+fire+latest+long+summer/6972181/story.html#ixzz21TrlZ0pk

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