Firefighters from Kingston to New Minas respond to overnight peat moss fire in Berwick

Published on June 12, 2014

Firefighters from Kingston to New Minas spent nearly six hours battling a pile of garbage on fire at Annapolis Valley Peat Moss June 12.

Berwick firefighters first responded at 2:15 a.m. to a report of an unknown fire on Highway 1 in Berwick West that turned out to be a large pile of mostly plastics, including plastic bags.

The fire was close to a building and there was a risk of the fire getting into a nearby wooded area and the structure, said fire department spokesperson Stephen Brittain.

Mutual aid was dispatched from departments from Kingston through to New Minas, either to the scene or to stand in at neighboring stations.

“The neighbouring departments were dispatched for support and plenty of water was needed to be sure the fire was contained,” Brittain said. “Any time peat moss is involved, you can be sure we will be using a lot of water because of the fact that it floats on top of water and repels water, therefore making it harder than usual to get it soaked.”

Foam, he explained, is used to break down the water’s surface tension and help penetrate the peat.

Most departments hauled at least three tanker loads of water to the scene. It’s estimated that in excess of 40,000 gallons of water was used battling the fire.

“The fire was contained to a small area and the risk of the fire burning into the ground was kept at a minimum with the amounts of water used,” Brittain said.

Firefighters remained on scene until approximately 8 a.m.