Fisheries and Land Resources
April 12, 2019

Minister Byrne Advises Residents to Exercise Extreme Caution During Spring Burning

The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, reminds individuals using fire during spring cleanup activities near forested land to exercise extreme caution to prevent early-season forest fires.

Although fine materials such as dead vegetation in fields and other open areas may appear wet in spring, they can dry and burn in a matter of hours under warm or windy conditions. These materials play a role in most fires that occur early in the forest fire season because they ignite easily and can spread fire quickly.

The 2019 forest fire season will be in effect from May 1 to September 30 on the island portion of the province, and from May 15 to September 30 in Labrador. Statistics from last year’s forest fire season indicate that although less area was burned in 2018, the number of fire starts was up compared to 2017 due to an increase in human-caused fires. Fast action by fire suppression crews ensured the protection of more forest land in 2018, reflecting the ever-constant need for vigilance in forest fire prevention.

Under the Forestry Act, a permit to burn is required to burn brush on forested land or within 300 metres of forest land during this period. Permits to burn and copies of the Forest Fire Regulations are available at district forestry and wildlife offices. Failing to comply with a permit or condition of a permit to burn is an offence. Those failing to comply are liable on summary conviction to penalties as specified under the Forest Fire Offence and Penalty Regulations.

To report a wildfire, please call 1-866-709-FIRE (3473).

Quote
“Over 80 per cent of the forest fires that occur in Newfoundland and Labrador are caused by human activity. In 2018, 106 out of 132 fires were caused by residents, and 12 of these fires occurred in April prior to the fire season, when people tend to believe that spring conditions are safe for burning. We must reduce this statistic and do all we can to protect our vital forest lands, as well as the dedicated fire suppression crews that work tirelessly to fight fires when the call comes.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources

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Fisheries and Land Resources Information on Forest Fires

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Media contact
Linda Skinner
Fisheries and Land Resources
709-637-2284, 632-8167
lindaskinner@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Safe Burning Practices
Residents are responsible for ensuring safe conditions exist prior to starting a fire. When the fire hazard is HIGH or winds are above 15 kilometres/hour, 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 or having a campfire. Select a level site away from trees, dense dry grass or overhanging branches; ensure a 10-foot circle of bare soil surrounds the location of the fire; keep fire to a manageable size; keep a shovel and water nearby; never leave a fire unattended; and ensure fire is extinguished before leaving the site.

Chainsaws, harvesting equipment and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) must be equipped with appropriate mufflers and spark arrestors to prevent flammable debris from escaping.

When using a chainsaw or riding an ATV on forested lands during the fire season, users must carry a fire extinguisher containing a minimum of 225 grams of ABC class dry chemical.

2019 04 12                              12:50 p.m.