Forest-fire season in New Brunswick began on Monday, April 21, and ends Friday, Oct. 31.
Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud urged people to be careful and take precautions to make sure fires are not carelessly ignited.
“Forest fires needlessly put people's lives in jeopardy, harm wildlife and destroy forests that provide livelihood and recreation for New Brunswickers,” he said. “Let's do all we can to ensure a safe season.”
The 24-hour toll-free Burning Permit Information line for Category 1 fires will operate throughout the forest-fire season. To find out whether burning is permitted at a particular place and time, residents should call 1-866-458-8080. The line does not provide information on areas inside cities and towns. For information about campfires and brushfires within cities and towns, residents should contact their local municipality for any restrictions that may apply.
The Department of Natural Resources encourages mulching, composting or hauling debris to a local landfill as alternate methods of disposal. A burning permit from the department is required for any fire larger than a Category 1.
Grass fires are a major concern in the early spring and can cause serious damage to agricultural and forested lands. Forest fire officials warn the public not to light grass fires in fields because they can quickly spread to nearby forests. People who deem it necessary to burn grass are required to submit a written burn plan to the department, have an inspection beforehand and then receive a written permit with departmental guidelines attached.
In 2013, 356 fires burned 885.5 hectares of forest land in New Brunswick. From 2003 through 2012, there was an average of 344 fires, burning an average 362.3 hectares of forest land.
The department uses water bombers to gather water from lakes and rivers for aerial firefighting and cautions boaters to listen for the siren and to move closer to the shoreline when the planes are skimming off a water source.
“I salute the outstanding work done by our fire management staff, our air crews based in Miramichi and our municipal and volunteer fire departments across the province who work closely with the department to combat wildfires,” said Robichaud. “They all do a great job of protecting the public and our forests.”
For further information, call 1-866-458-8080, go online to www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/natural_resources.html or visit any Department of Natural Resources regional or district office.