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Corner Brook woman describes fright, surprise of realizing there was a forest fire while on Blow-Me-Down Brook trail

Smoke rises from the burning woods near Blow-Me-Down Brook after a forest fire erupted there Wednesday.
Smoke rises from the burning woods near Blow-Me-Down Brook after a forest fire erupted there Wednesday. - Contributed

Kelly Webber thought someone must have been having a campfire in the area as she made her way out from the Blow-Me-Down Brook swimming hole Wednesday afternoon.

As she, along with her niece and nephew, got a little further along the trail, the smell of smoke got stronger.

Then, a man came running in the opposite direction towards them, asking if anyone else was still in at the pool area. The urgency in his voice was an obvious indicator something was afoot.

“He told us the trail was on fire,” Webber said.

A forest fire had broken out near the trail and popular swimming area.

Surprised to hear what was happening, Webber told the man there were still four young people at the swimming area. She then led the kids she was with back to the safety of their vehicle.

Luckily everyone got out before the fire spread and cut off the trail.

Before Webber and her group got back to the parking lot, they encountered a section of wooden boardwalk that was blackened and would glow bright orange with cinders when a gust of wind came up.

“We could feel the heat of the fire,” she said, noting the vegetation not far from the boardwalk was in flames. “It was scary.”

Webber said the teenaged boys who came out after them reported the flames being almost as tall as they were by the time they went through the most precarious section of the trail.

Before long, firefighters from the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources were on the scene to battle the fire estimated to be about three hectares in size. A water bomber soaked the scene from the air for about three hours in the early stages of the effort.

The crew was back Thursday to put out any hot spots.

Gary Forward, the province’s forest fire duty officer, said the fire had been 75 per cent contained by Thursday afternoon and a crew of five was continuing to extinguish it into the evening hours.

The firefighters were expected to return to the scene Friday morning to continue monitoring for flare-ups.

Forward said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire, but it will be investigated.

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