A fire that broke out in a pile of wood waste at the Tolko mill on Friday could have been worse than it was when neighbouring piles of logs caught fire.

Flames were visible from the top of the wood-waste pile, which grew when gusts of wind picked up.

Smoke could be seen billowing towards the neighbouring Claybanks RV Park.

Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson told the Herald that the fire was fuelled by the wind and spread to adjacent log decks and grasses along the Coldwater River.

“Some embers had flown into the log decks and caught them on fire but they were extinguished,” Tomkinson said.

Mill staff began trying to extinguish the flames before the fire department’s arrival.

Co-ordinated efforts by the mill’s staff and the fire department mitigated the potential for major destruction when the log decks caught fire.

The Merritt Fire Rescue Department arrived on scene at about 4 p.m.

A total of 22 firefighters and most of the department’s vehicles responded to the blaze. Firefighters were on scene until about 7:30 p.m.

The cause of the blaze was spontaneous combustion. The temperature in Merritt on Friday was in the mid 20’s.

Tomkinson said there was no other damage reported nor any injuries.