Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit June 21, 2016 - 12:20 pm

Relax Iqalungmiut, this fire’s no dumpcano

Iqaluit firefighters expect to extinguish latest dump fire this afternoon

THOMAS ROHNER
A City of Iqaluit heavy equipment operator uses an excavator to tear apart a pile of scrap wood and metal that caught fire on the afternoon of June 20 at the city's dump site. By mid-day June 21, Iqaluit firefighters had brought the blaze under control and expected to have it completely extinguished by mid-afternoon. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)
A City of Iqaluit heavy equipment operator uses an excavator to tear apart a pile of scrap wood and metal that caught fire on the afternoon of June 20 at the city's dump site. By mid-day June 21, Iqaluit firefighters had brought the blaze under control and expected to have it completely extinguished by mid-afternoon. (PHOTO BY THOMAS ROHNER)

No need to worry, Iqalungmiut: dumpcano has not reared its ugly head again.

A fire at the city’s bulk metal and wood collection area at the dump site, which began around 6 p.m. June 20, is expected to be fully extinguished in a matter of hours, Iqaluit Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson told Nunatsiaq News June 21.

“The assistant deputy fire chief just told me there’s an area of about 10 [feet] by 10 [feet] that’s still burning. But he expects to have it completely extinguished by 2 p.m. today, if not sooner,” Stevenson said about11 a.m. June 21.

City workers and firefighters, volunteer firefighters and airport firefighters worked over night to contain and extinguish the fire, Stevenson said.

They did that by digging a trench between what was on fire and what wasn’t, and then systematically dousing the fire.

City fire officials will conduct an investigation into what caused the fire, Stevenson said.

But compared to the infamous four-month dump fire in 2014, dubbed “dumpcano,” this fire was short-lived and less of a nuisance, the deputy mayor said.

Some Iqaluit residents on social media called this recent fire “scrapcano.”

“This fire was cleaner than the last one, because it was just wood burning. But of course it still affects people and it’s not pleasant,” he said.

A public service announcement from the mayor June 21 explained that trucked water services would be cancelled for the day as city trucks are needed on-scene to help stamp out the final embers.

“[The] city will be able to deliver limited water to those residents who have run out of water or think they will without call-out fee. Please do not call for water delivery unless absolutely required. Regular truck services will resume tomorrow,” said Mayor Madeleine Redfern.

Stevenson said the city’s first PSA on the fire was aimed at alleviating some residents’ concern that the fire was actually in the area holding the city’s fuel storage tanks.

“From the city, it looked like the fuel storage tanks were on fire. But they were never at all in danger, it just looked that way from across the bay,” Stevenson said.

In total, about 30 city employees and other firefighters worked throughout the night to contain and extinguish the fire, Stevenson said.

“All those people need to be thanked for how hard they worked… the effort of those guys to make sure it went out as fast it did is really appreciated.”

Stevenson said the bulk metal and wood storage site is temporary; most of the material from the site should be transferred to the city dump by the end of the summer.

The Government of Nunavut also issued a PSA June 21, warning elderly, children and pregnant women to limit their exposure to smoke blowing outdoors.

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