An email written by a Halifax fire chief suggests a staffing problem may have led to a raging forest fire last spring that destroyed several homes and forced 1,100 residents to flee.

The CBC reported yesterday that a Halifax Fire Service crew went on April 29 to extinguish a brush fire caused by a campfire off the Herring Cove Road on the outskirts of the city.

They put the fire out and returned the next morning to check for possible flareups.

At 11 a.m., the crew decided it was safe to return to its fire station for lunch, but when lunch was over it couldn’t return immediately to the woods to check the site again.

In an email obtained by the CBC, Chief Bill Mosher wrote that the crew had to “arrange for a cover and that may have delayed their return to the scene of the original fire.”

“A cover” means the crew had to get another crew to mind the station before it could leave.

At 1:45 p.m., a 911 call reported smoke coming from the area before the crew could return.

The fire quickly spread and raged out of control for two days.

Halifax Regional Fire Service told the CBC that despite the reference to a delay in Mosher’s email, everything went according to procedure and it had no bearing on the fire.