Yesterday, after spending the morning and early afternoon at Day 1 of the Cabbagetown Festival (article to come), Torontoist decided to go for a relaxing bike ride through the Don Valley. Clearly the relaxing part of the plan didn’t pan out, as we happened to be first on the scene of a wild brush fire, the flames of which were moving rapidly west and south thanks to unusually hot and dry conditions. Then, while waiting for the fire department to show up, we decided—against all good sense—to try to put it out ourselves. More photos after the jump.
Approaching the fire, hopes that what we actually smelled was a free BBQ were dashed. It took us and the other cyclists a few moments to wrap our heads around the idea that these flames were not controlled.
We called 911, then stood around for a while taking pictures.
Looking around for the cause of the fire, we notice a downed power line. The Toronto Star later reported that to be the cause.
After watching the fire spread for about 10 minutes, and still seeing no sign of the fire department, we started to feel like action was needed. Being careful to avoid the power line, we discovered that some of the flames could be put out by stomping on them and beating them with sticks.
We couldn’t get to all of the flames, however, since some of them started to lick the edge of the highway itself.
Shortly after that the fire department and police arrived, and after about five minutes of what looked like some spirited debate about how to proceed…
…they finally decided on “hose it down with water.” Good choice.
Traffic was down to one lane northbound and southbound until they had the fire throughly out. We’d already seen most of the fun, though, so we didn’t stick around that long. Also, we needed to go change so we wouldn’t smell like a campfire for the rest of the day.
All photos by Chris Tindal.