An excavator pulls the pile of debris apart to get to hot spots. (Kiran Ajay/Facebook)

Debris pile spontaneously combusts at Maple Bay construction site

A large pile of land-clearing debris caught fire at a construction site in Maple Bay Tuesday, worrying residents and prompting a quick response from the nearby fire department.

Maple Bay firefighters were called to the new subdivision near Viewtop Road in the dinner hour. Shortly thereafter a call was made for a tender from the Crofton Hall to help with water as the hydrants in the construction area have yet to be hooked up.

Catelyn Neilson and her neighbour saw the smoke but they couldn’t initially tell where it was coming from.

They called it in anyway, just to be safe.

“We just saw the smoke billowing, and then the neighbour said she thought that the fire was down at the bottom of the construction site,” Neilson said. “So we went to look so we could call in a location. And by that time the fire truck was coming into the site and the fire chief was up at the top of the hill calling instructions on his radio.”

Maple Bay fire chief Mike Dunn said it was indeed a pile of hog fuel that had been sitting at the site for roughly six weeks and was waiting to be repurposed for top dressing.

It was not irresponsibly stored and it spontaneously combusted.

“It sat in the hot sun,” Dunn said. “It’s kind of the nature of the beast.”

Neilson gave kudos to the fire department.

“[It was an] excellent response from all concerned, but worrisome that there was a fire in the first place,” she said. “Everyone needs to take more care. I know my neighbours have been really concerned about the piles of slaughtered trees and roots that are being left to dry up about the construction site on either side of Nevilane. And of course all that Scotch broom is an awful fire risk.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CVRD requests rainstorm, flood photos via online tool

Officials want to know more about how that type of event impacted the region as a whole.

Bluegrass Festival in Cowichan offering savings for early birds

The annual Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival will run from June 19 to 21

Drivesmart column: Let’s block the road

Police resources to cope with the size of the protest group is an important consideration.

Coming up in Cowichan: Meet the Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warrior Run stops at Legion The Royal Canadian Legion Malahat District… Continue reading

Cowichan climber off to Olympic qualifier

Brennan Doyle competing for Pan Am Championship

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read