Bog fire bill costs Delta $310,000

Bog fire bill costs Delta $310,000

31 March 2006

published by

Canada — It cost the municipality of Delta a total of $310,000 to extinguish a stubborn fire in Burns Bog lastyear.

That amounts to about one per cent of the combined police and fire department budgets for 2005.

A Martin Mars water bomber was one of the tools used to put out a stubborn peat fire at Burns Bog last September. And now Delta officials have counted up the hefty bills incurred in battling the blaze that covered 200 hectares.

A report by the municipal finance department says most of that amount represents overtime for the municipal firefighters who battled the 200-hectare peat bog fire last September and the police who worked to control public access to the scene, as well as the cost of materials like fire suppressant foam.

That estimate doesn’t include the cost of provincial forestry fire crews, water bombers and helicopters, which the provincial government is expected to absorb.

Firefighters discovered old rail lines once used to truck peat moss out of the bog when it was a commercial enterprise had been laid on old tires, which caught fire and burned with the creosote-soaked railroad ties.

As a result, crews had to use more foam than normal to put out the burning tires and ties and had to work upwind from the potentially toxic smoke.

The final bill to the municipality could be lower, because the finance department plans to apply for additional financial assistance under the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP).

The fire cast a pall of smoke over large area of the Lower Mainland for several days as fire crews worked to put it out.

The blaze is believed to be accidental, possibly caused by a carelessly disposedcigarette.

It appears to have originated close to the 6100 block of 104 Street, near the southeast quadrant of the fire and started in a grassy area, not the forested bog.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries during the battle, one hurting their knee, another stung by bees and a third experiencing stomach troubles.


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