‘This could have been avoided’: Wind turbine work sparked blazes before Parry Sound 33 wildfire

Dave Seglins, CBC News

The forest was tinder dry. With no rain in weeks, the parched grass in the undergrowth had turned to straw, prompting fire bans across northeastern Ontario.

Yet heavy construction in the bush pressed on last summer at the site of the province’s largest wind energy development.​

CBC News has learned there were at least three construction-related fires at the Henvey Inlet Wind (HIW) project in the weeks leading up to Parry Sound 33, the massive wildfire that torched thousands of hectares of wilderness along the northeastern shore of Georgian Bay — a destructive path that started at the construction site on July 18.

The three previous fires were reported to the province at the time. In one case, officials even had to dispatch water bombers to help bring the fire under control.

But a heavy truck operator who worked at HIW tells CBC News there were many more small fires during the same period prior to Parry Sound 33.

Wayne Hollis says the little fires were quickly contained, but ought to have been a clear sign that construction work should have been halted, or at least minimized, to protect the parched forest.

He says the companies behind HIW took “unnecessary risks” to keep the work going.

“This could have been avoided,” said Hollis, who believes he was laid off for sharing similar information about the fires on social media.

“The weather was really, really dry. Things were very volatile on the ground.” Read article

13 thoughts on “‘This could have been avoided’: Wind turbine work sparked blazes before Parry Sound 33 wildfire

  1. Well we all know about the destruction that was caused but what was the penalty? Who paid for the fire fighting? How many lost their collage especially if no insurance was paid? Fires happen all the time but this huge inferior was man made and avoidable at that time. Is this project still on the go??? Hope not!! Did this company continue or will continue to build? Are the FN saying anything now? Who gains after this? So many questions but really nothing changes?? As long as gullible people allow Wind Developers to destroy for GREED, stay tuned more to come.

  2. Thanks to Dave Seglins for covering this story. It is so un CBC like to report anything negative related to renewable energy. Gives me a brief recollection of the good old days when the CBC could be referred to as The Ministry of Truth. .
    My sympathies to the residents. We have happy memories of canoe trips to the area. The comment about it taking perhaps a century to recover may be true as there is little soil and all the fertility was in the growing biomass of the forest.
    I’m wondering if this will illustrate to misguided environmentalists how massive and often destructive wind and solar installations really are.

  3. Robert Budd, your words resonate deeply with me. Seeing turbines up in such pristine territory is beyond what I could have even imagined when I first heard about this project. But now, seeing those trees that were able to grow, even in such terrain, scorched to death by a fire that should have been prevented, brings a sense of sadness beyond words.
    This was done in the name of environmentalism!
    This fraud must be stopped.

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