Spontaneous combustion caused a large pile of wood mulch to catch fire at an industrial site in North Campbell River on Monday, says Fire Chief Thomas Doherty.
He says the phenomenon is not uncommon when heaps of debris like damp wood chips or mulch are involved, due to water heating up inside the pile.
“Over time, as the temperature changes, they will start to heat up inside the pile and basically spontaneously combust,” he said. “The pile will start to burn deep inside.”
Firefighters were dispatched around 2:20 p.m. after someone reported flames rising from the pile in the area of 4000 Midport Road, which is located just off Highway 19 near Duncan Bay.
CR Firefighters on scene at a large wood chip pile in the North Industrial area. pic.twitter.com/cKLgqT39uM
— Campbell River Fire (@RiverCityFire) August 19, 2019
Crews attended the scene with a fire engine and tower truck, which they used to get “deep water penetration into the pile,” Doherty said.
Firefighters estimated the burning pile was roughly 50 feet high and 100 feet wide, he said. The business itself used heavy machinery to take apart the pile and used a hose to continue putting out the fire once firefighters got it under control, he said.
John Ellis, owner of Courtenay-based Pacific Wood Waste, thanked firefighters for their quick attention to the incident.
“They were a tremendous help,” he said. “It’s situations like this that you realize that they’re such an asset to have.”
He said the woody composting material is used for fuel at pulp mills and landscaping.
On Tuesday morning, ashy debris was visible in a pile of bark mulch at the site. Steam rose from the wet pile, and a worker said he used an excavator to remove the top of the mulch and ensure water entered the heap.
|An image from Google Maps shows the approximate location of a chip fire that took place in an industrial area in North Campbell River on Aug. 19, 2019.|
Doherty said there was no risk to the public or any structures in the area, noting that a good fire break surrounded the pile, though he added that spot fires could result if the weather was hotter and more embers were coming off the pile.
He said the fire department has encountered the issue of spontaneous combustion of wood chips before.
“We had a few calls out there this year already for that same pile, and every year we have the same thing,” he said, adding that similar issues crop up at another yard waste facility in Campbell River.
|A pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusted’ in North Campbell River on Aug. 19, 2019, according to the Campbell River Fire Department. A worker is shown at the scene on Aug. 20. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror|
Merville wildlife rescue centre sees 9 poisoned birds since January
MARS trying to fundraise for ‘rigorous and expensive’ lead poisoning treatment
One woman arrested after pair of armed robberies in Campbell River
Police still looking to speak with anyone who was around downtown Chevron Sunday night
UPDATED: Forest industry supporters and convoy deliver petition at B.C. legislature in Victoria
Petition is in favour of ‘working forests’
VIDEO: Convoy of forest industry supporters on its way to Victoria
Rally at the B.C. legislature begins with participants setting off from Campbell River
Forest industry supporters set to deliver petition to B.C. government
Rally to be held Tuesday in Victoria
VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget
Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects
Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on
The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto
VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart
A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond
B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket
Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him
Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says
Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out
Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades
Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana
Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary
Even more intriguing is the fact that the C43 wagon is only offered in Canada and not the US
Vancouver Island focused menu will highlight local ingredients
Three Campbell River wrestlers brought home medals from the provincial championships in…
Fears about the swine flu cutting a swath through the Vancouver Games were never realized
Significant changes have been made to the national game
On Saturday night, the CFL commissioner began his annual cross-country trek in Ottawa