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.