Fisheries and Land Resources
August 17, 2018

Provincial Government Responding to Call to Help Fight Forest Fires

Newfoundland and Labrador is answering the call to help protect our fellow Canadians, their property and the forest resource against the devastating effects of wildfire. Summer 2018 may become the province’s busiest summer for deployments.

Through the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, fire suppression staff and equipment have been deployed to British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

The most recent deployment is to British Columbia where active wildfires continue to burn and a state of emergency has been declared. A four person Initial Attack Crew from Newfoundland and Labrador is currently working with Parks Canada in British Columbia. Equipment has been sent and a Situation Unit Leader is scheduled to leave for British Columbia today to be part of an Incident Management Team. Newfoundland and Labrador has also been sending water bombers to backfill in Quebec as that province has deployed some of its own air tankers to assist in British Columbia.

This province also responded to requests for assistance from the Ontario in the form of equipment, firefighters and incident management team personnel - 21 people in total.

The national Incident Command System adopted by all provinces and territories enables the exchange of personnel across Canada under the Mutual Aid Resource Sharing Agreement administered by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. The Provincial Government is monitoring the situation in British Columbia where there may be other opportunities for deployments over the next several weeks.

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resource is well prepared to respond to wildfires in this province, with 84 firefighters strategically placed throughout Newfoundland and Labrador through 22 depots and offices. Five water bombers are available for aerial fire suppression, supplemented by five helicopters.

Forest fire season is in effect until September 30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since the beginning of fire season there have been 99 fires – 90 on the island and nine in Labrador with 516.3 hectares burned – compared to 65 fires and 681.3 hectares burned by the same period in 2017. In total last year, 80 fires burned a total of 699.8 hectares, which was below the 10-year average of 115 fires per year.

Quote
“The volume of resource exchanges continue to escalate as climate change produces more frequent and intense wildland fires. This is especially true in western Canada where each fire season is now a record breaker. My department has been able to respond to and manage not only wildfires in Newfoundland and Labrador but in other provinces where our hardworking fire fighters and managers are providing an outstanding professional service. Here at home we continue to deliver effective wildfire management to protect the forest resource, property and residents.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources

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Learn More

Forest Fires
www.faa.gov.nl.ca/forestry/forest_fires/index.html

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Media contact
Connie Boland
Fisheries and Land Resources
709-637-2923, 640-6409
connieboland@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Information on forest fires in Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Budget 2018 invests $3.4 million to protect communities, property and residents from forest fire.


  • About 80 per cent of forest fires on the island are related to human activity. To report a wildfire, please call 1-866-709-FIRE (3473).


  • Under the Forestry Act, a permit to burn is required to burn brush on forest land or within 300 metres of forest land during this period. Permits to burn can be obtained at regional or district forest management offices. Failing to comply with a permit or condition of a permit to burn is an offence and liable in accordance with the Forest Fire Offence and Penalty Regulations.


  • Residents are responsible for ensuring safe conditions exist prior to starting a fire. When the fire hazard is HIGH or winds are above15 km/hr, burning is not permitted under a permit to burn. Open fires are suspended when the fire hazard is VERY HIGH.


  • Residents are reminded to follow safe burning practices when burning brush or debris, having a campfire, or using chainsaws, harvesting equipment and all-terrain vehicles (ATV).

2018 08 17                              1:20 p.m.