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Fire season begins in NB

It's forest fire season again
It's forest fire season again

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

April 27, 2011 — It may seem hard to believe with all the moisture the Maritimes have been seeing this year, but fire season has arrived.

New Brunswick has already had 16 grassfires -- and the season started April 18th
New Brunswick has already had 16 grassfires -- and the season started April 18th

Jeff Betts, a duty officer at the provincial forest fire centre in New Brunswick, said the province already has 16 grassfires and a total of 11 burned hectares on the books -- and the season only started last week.

Most of the fires were started by people attempting to conduct controlled burns on their property.

“We get a day of sun and we start picking up some grassfires,” said Betts. “It's just kind of a ritual from the past -- people tend to want to go out and burn off the old growth and get some new growth going.”

That type of burning is considered prescribed burning and in New Brunswick requires a permit from the Department of Natural Resources describing the size and scale of the burn, a comprehensive plan to control it, and a pre-inspection of the burn site by a forest service officer.

“It's quite an involved process and really meant more for industry than the public,” Betts said. “We try to discourage the public from doing that.”

Burning small piles of brush and debris on a private property doesn't require a permit, but people are encouraged to call the provincial burn line at 1-866-458-8080 to find out if any burning restrictions are in place for their area. The Forest Fire Watch website is also updated daily.

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