Dog owner vacates dogs - loses one

Adam Randell
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Because of a forest fire, for the third time in three years, Scott Hudson, a dog team owner, has had to evacuate his dogs from their kennel on Courte Real Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.The fire was reported in the early hours of August 4, and burned an estimated 10 hectares of land near Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Mr. Hudson was sleeping when the telephone rang at 3 a.m. It was the RCMP to inform him a fire had been reported in the general area of his kennel.

After arriving on the scene 15 minutes later, he noticed forestry and RCMP were already on location.

"The fire was maybe half a kilometre from the kennel, it was approaching very quickly, getting larger as it came," Mr. Hudson said.

"So here I was having to evacuate 12 dogs under the blanket or darkness, trying to find things in a panic, and a hurry because you didn't know how quickly the fire was coming."

So he, his girlfriend and sister went to work to load the dogs into three separate vehicles. He said they also received assistance from an RCMP officer in transporting the dogs.

Mr. Hudson said the RCMP also visited the home of Jimmy Shouse to see if he could avail of his boarding kennels, to which he is thankful for.

But through the confusion and commotion of moving his team, one went missing.

As of The Labradorian publication date, the animal was still missing.

"This is the third year in a row I've had to evacuate my dogs, and each time the fire is getting closer so I'm seriously considering finding a new location for my kennel," he said. "It's becoming an annual thing and it's only getting worse."

With the first two fires, Mr. Hudson said a little good fortune was on his side because the fires occurred in the afternoon. This meant it was spotted and fought quickly, and people were able to be contacted easily to help with the move.

With the latest situation, he said, it was only luck the fire was spotted. If it had not been spotted until daylight he said it could have done real damage to the area and to his dog team.

"It's definitely becoming a real issue so I'm seriously going to look at a different location," he said.

Jim Evans, provincial fire duty officer for the Department of Natural Resources, said as soon as the fire was reported the department had 16 personnel respond to the call.

He said when daylight broke two helicopters and an air tanker was sent into combat the flames.

"Once the air tanker dropped a number or loads, we worked it with two helicopters dropping a number of buckets. That knocked it down very well and the ground crew was putting out hot spots," Mr. Evans said.

Once night fell, he said crews continued to monitor the situation and into the next morning.

As of The Labradorian's publication deadline, August 5, he said the fire was listed as contained.

Mr. Evans said 10 hectares is not a large fire but there was some concern because it was relatively close to town.

He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

So far this year there have been 12 forest fires in Labrador.

reporter@thelabradorian.ca

Organizations: RCMP, Department of Natural Resources

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