WATCH: It's so hot in Nova Scotia that mulch caught fire
Monday, August 6, 2018, 6:08 PM - Little Bras d'Or, N.S., resident Tom Cholock was about to take off on his daily run when the smell of burning wood overwhelmed him.
"I went to my neighbours to see if he was having a fire in his fire pit," the Nova Scotian told The Weather Network. "He wasn't having a fire. I looked at my other neighbour's to see if they were burning anything or having a barbecue. As I was putting on my running shoes, I looked to my left and I could see a cloud of smoke growing larger from my flower garden."
Turns out, it was mulch that caught fire. The incident took place around 4 p.m. on August 2.
According to Cholock, no smokers live in the area and his garden was very clean at the time of the small blaze.
"As I looked the smoke was getting larger and it had ignited into small flames," he said. "The section that ignited was in an area where the wind was blowing on the section of mulch. I'm assuming it was smoldering under the mulch, and when the wind was blowing in that area for most of the afternoon, it ignited."
Cholock posted a video of the small fire on Facebook. It has been viewed over 237,000 times since it was first posted on Thursday.
North Sydney Fire and Rescue shared the post adding, "we've had numerous calls for mulch spontaneously combusting."
Officials are urging residents to keep an eye on freshly laid mulch.
"If you see smoke coming from your mulch, don't assume that applying water will extinguish it," Chief Lloyd MacIntosh, North Sydney Fire and Rescue told The Weather Network via Facebook. "Remove it from area, to a non-combustible surface and rake it out. Winds in the area can also contribute by fanning the flames. Be wise to the dangers!"
The incident serves as a reminder to be fire safe during hot weather. Around this time last year, several mulch fires were reported in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
"We don't get any of those in the winter, but this is the time of year when we do receive any calls for mulch fires and it's generally on a hot humid day like this and people have discarded ... normally along the walkways, entrances to buildings or close to the entrance of an occupancy, and people discard their matter there and overtime it heats up a little bit and causes that small fire," City of Charlottetown Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mamye told CBC in August 2017. "[Be] aware of where you place your discarded items, like cigarettes or matches, put them in proper receptacles ... make sure they're fully extinguished."
Heat warnings remain in effect for all three Maritime provinces for humidex values of 39 or higher.
"A very warm and humid airmass will persist over the Maritimes until Thursday," says Environment Canada in the warning. "Daytime highs of 29 to 32 C are expected for much of Nova Scotia, with humidex values possibly reaching 36 to 40 over inland regions. Overnight low temperatures will be in the 18 to 22 C range, providing little relief from the heat. A noticeable improvement is in store for Thursday."
During the wildfire risk season (March 15 to October 15), all domestic brush burning and campfires must adhere to daily Nova Scotia burning restrictions, which can be found here.