UPPER RAWDON, N.S. — Firefighters from Halifax to Hantsport were called upon to battle a tire fire in Upper Rawdon May 15, that almost spread into the surrounding wooded area.
Around 6:20 p.m., firefighters were called to a salvage yard in the 4200 block of Highway 354. But it quickly became clear that more manpower and water was needed to tackle the scene.
As of 8:30 p.m., fire trucks could be seen lined up along Highway 354, transporting water to the site.
James Robinson, deputy chief of the Rawdon Fire Department, said firefighters remained on scene until 2:30 a.m. The road was cleared to allow traffic around the same time.
They returned to the Rawdon Fire Hall at 8:30 a.m. to begin cleaning gear. Robinson said that process could take days.
“When we landed on scene, we had a tire pile, probably close to 1,000 tires, 10 to 12 feet high, fully involved,” Robinson said. “There were lots of woods close by, so we put water on the fire, but also went into the woods and put the woods fires out that were around it so we could focus just on the tires.”
Robinson said an area of approximately five metres into the surrounding wooded area was in flames for a time as well.
The Department of Natural Resources was on scene as well. Robinson said they were able to douse the small forest fires before they could spread.
“Had that spread too far into the woods, we would have been in big trouble,” he said. “There are acres of land nearby that’s just old chop and we’ve had quite a bit of dry weather.”
He said that approximately 15 departments were on scene, coming from Hants, Halifax and Colchester counties — with more than 100 firefighters at or around the scene during the evening fire call.
“We had to keep switching guys out because of the heat, and they can get dehydrated pretty quick,” he said. “We were doing rotations every 15 minutes.”
The heavy, black smoke was also a challenge firefighters had to contend with, Robinson said.
An excavator was called in to help deal with the situation, but the operator was replaced with a firefighter, so they could use a breathing apparatus, Robinson said.
“The heavy smoke is very dangerous to inhale,” he said.
There were no injuries, but EHS was standing by just in case.
Thousands of gallons of water was pumped down the driveway. More than 300 metres of hose was used during this operation, Robinson said.
Robinson said the majority of the damage was confined to the pile of tires and surrounding wooded area.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, but an investigation is underway.