Huntsville - The long weekend kept firefighters busy as they battled a three-day fire, attended to a man who had fallen mid-way off a cliff trying to put that fire out and battled an island fire in Lake of Bays.
Lake of Bays firefighters use the fire boat, made possible through community fundraisers, to battle a fire on Langmaids Island on Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, Huntsville and Port Sydney fire crews were called to a bush fire and rescue at Silver Sands campground. The call that a man had fallen over a cliff while trying to battle a bush fire he had discovered was received at 4:30 p.m.
When crews arrived on the scene they found an injured man trapped on a three-foot ledge half way down the rock face of a cliff. They also discovered about four acres of land on fire.
While crews battled to contain the fire, they also worked to rescue the man who was transported to Huntsville hospital with minor injuries shortly before 10 p.m.
Fire crews spent Sunday back out at the campground to put out the bush fire, which had reignited. Crews thought they had the fire under control until late afternoon when the wind picked up and changed directions.
Two Ministry of Natural Resources water bombers were brought in to assist. Crews continued to work the fire until dark and then returned to the scene Monday morning.
Huntsville fire chief Steve Hernen said Tuesday morning that the bush fire was under control.
“Additional fire crews from Lake of Bays and Muskoka Lakes were brought in Monday to assist the exhausted Huntsville and Port Sydney fire crews to contain the fire. Crews will remain on scene for the next couple days cleaning up hot spots and patrolling to make sure the fire is out.”
In a separate incident, Lake of Bays fire crews from the Port Cunnington and Baysville fire stations were called to a bush fire on Langmaids Island shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Terry Joiner of the Huntsville Fire Department said 24 firefighters arrived to find a small cabin on fire, which was spreading to the bush. The Port Cunnington fireboat was called in to help douse the fire, but the Baysville firefighters, who were first on the scene, could not reach the island from shore.
However, one cottager, who was an eyewitness to the blaze, said the residents came the aid of the crews.
Dana Simpson said there were a lot of boats on the water looking at the fire and many firefighters were waiting on main land at the public dock. She said that a SeaDoo driver went around to all of the boats asking them to taxi the firefighters over to the island.
Dana Simpson, along with fellow boaters Suesan Mckeen and Fred Simpson, helped to boat the firefighters onto the island.
“Within seconds the boats were taking the firefighters across well before the fireboat arrived. I believe that was a true help in keeping the fire maintained until the (fireboat) arrived,” Simpson said. We have lived across from this island since 1964 and all the cottagers around it are very found of its beauty and the history of the buildings that still stand on the island.”
Joiner called the cottagers’ efforts, “awesome.”
“Langmaids Island is down closer to Baysville so it took the fireboat a while to get to the scene,” he said.
He said the fire was quickly brought under control within two hours and no one was at the cabin at the time of the fire.
Joiner said that the fire had mostly burned itself out by the time the crews reached the island.
The cause of the fire had not been determined as of Tuesday morning. Joiner said the cabin was demolished by the fire and there was no estimate of the damage as of Tuesday morning.
Hernen said that he has never seen the fire crews work so hard and long as they did this past weekend.