A fire at the PRT Harrop Nursery sent clouds of black smoke into the sky all afternoon on Thursday.
The nursery lost a chemical storage building and machine shop to the fire, and on a neighbouring property a workshop was destroyed, according to Nora Hannon, regional fire chief for the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
“There was a large amount of Styrofoam that was near that fire, and other fuels,” Hannon told the Star. “So with the weather conditions and wind, the fire spread very, very quickly.”
Hannon said 40 volunteer firefighters from the Balfour-Harrop, North Shore, Blewett, Beasley, and Crescent Valley fire departments “did a tremendous job in containing it to the east corner of the nursery.”
She said there were live hydro lines on the highway, which initially prevented crews from getting to the east side of the fire, “except for the crews from the Harrop station – they did a tremendous job initially in holding that fire and keeping it from moving further east towards Procter.”
Nelson Hydro was on hand to deal with the hydro lines, and two BC Wildfire Service helicopters also helped to extinguish the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The nursery is part of a network of PRT nurseries in Canada and the U.S. that produce container-grown forest seedlings.