There are daily random acts of kind-ness that we acknowledge. If some-one holds the door open at a shop for us, we offer a verbal, â€œThank youâ€ to them. Written thank you notes are sent after re-ceiving gifts.The Timmins #9 forest fire was the worst in recent memory to ever hit this area. Properties at the Cache Camp-ground and on McKeown Road were in the most danger. The crews who saved those areas are deserving of a big thank you, yet here is the letter left at the Fournierâ€™s cottage on McKeown Road â€“ a thank you note with a difference.â€œMr. & Mrs. Fournier and neigh-bours,â€œPlease accept our deepest thanks for the use of your property to establish our base of operations in your carports. For two weeks, starting on Monday the 21st, three MNR Fire Crews, (12 people) worked to establish a value-protection line of defence consisting of sprinklers (300), hose (50,000 feet) and pumps (33 in total).â€œWe only had 2-1/2 days (work-ing 17-18 hours per day) to get this up and running before the 70 km/hr winds made the fire escape toward your com-munity.
The day of this wind event (the 25th), we were taken by surprise and had just completed running up the sprinkler system when we were forced to evacu-ate the area, as the smoke column rose above us.â€œUpon returning to McKeown Road the following morning, we were elated to discover that our line had held in the face of Rank 5 (Full Crown) fire behav-iour and no main structures had been compromised. The 12 people then pro-ceeded to extinguish what remained of the fire and it was decided we would camp here on site to maximize our ef-forts. Our numbers were bolstered to 28 people, (7 crews) and considerable work was done containing the entire sector of fire, out to the highway.â€œWe have been here from the begin-ning to the end and were also the people who removed the sprinkler lines and cleaned up afterward.
â€œAgain, thank you for your under-standing of our intrusion and we hope that in the years to follow, your neigh-bourhood will return to its full green beauty again.Sincerely,Crew #1W4106-Thunder Bay, John Perry, Amy Sloan, Conor Lee Kam and Jory RoseCrew #1W4103-Thunder Bay, Adam Knight, Mindy Blumberg, Jen Arcand and Cameron DuckettCrew #1W7116-Thunder Bay, Ben Rogers, Scott Carreira, Aaron Carr and Luke Hedicanâ€In the aftermath, one only has to drive into McKeown Road off Highway 144 to see where the raging fire followed McKeown Creek, turned south along McKeown road, crowned and when trees toppled in the high winds, forced the fire across the road. It was only because of these brave fire fighters and the sprin-kler systems they established that there was no major damage to those homes and cottages.
It is noted with gratitude, that the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is the only forest fire fighting agency in North America that would go to such lengths to set up 300 sprinkler systems, 50,000 feet of hose and 33 pumps as they did, to protect the vacation homes and permanent residences on McKeown Road. While they are thankful for the water bomber support and other ground crews, the owners of homes and cottages on McKeown Road thank YOU, the crews from Thunder Bay. Thatâ€™s my view from Over the Hill.