SOUTHWEST BROOK Roy Keating was watching anxiously and hoping that his brother Randy’s cabin, located at the upper end of Main Gut near Southwest Brook, wasn’t going to go up in flames.
He, along with others, were perched along a hillside on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway just west of Southwest Brook watching a forest fire on Friday afternoon that was burning up hectares of wooded area and continuing to spread in a wide swath.
Keating pointed to the side of a sandy hill for a reference point near to where his brother’s cabin is located.
“It’s a real nice cabin, I hope they can save her,” he said as he watched two water bombers and a helicopter dropping water from a bucket work the area, concentrating their efforts on knocking down the fire as it headed towards the cabins.
“I guess there is about a hundred or so cabins along the shoreline in there,” Keating said with concern.
He said he had heard the fire was caused when a wire from a power line hit the ground; however, police did not know late Friday evening the cause of the forest fire but did say at 7:30 p.m. it was still burning out of control.
A power outage, which lasted from about 1:30 p.m. to about 2:20 p.m., was experienced in Stephenville and area. The area in which the forest fire was located has a transmission line running through it.
Some of the owners of campers on the south side of Southwest Brook were outside their trailers and ready to hook up in the event of a wind change that might send the fire their way.
“My truck’s there and I’m ready to hook on the trailer should the need come but hopefully it won’t,” Rob Boland said as water bombers flew overhead.
Police said during the afternoon, forestry officers and local fire departments were on the scene; however, members of the Stephenville Crossing Fire Department were seen heading home late in the afternoon.
See EVACUATION on page 2
RCMP officers from Stephenville evacuated cabins and campers in the area shortly after the fire started.
Barachois Search and Rescue were on scene assisting with traffic control while RCMP officers from Burgeo detachment were on hand to assist as well.
A police officer with the Bay St. George detachment said they would have personnel watching the area until the fire is under control.