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Spring precipitation, wildfire update for the Maritimes

A pedestrian shields themselves from rain and wind during a rainfall warning in Halifax on Thursday, January 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese A pedestrian shields themselves from rain and wind during a rainfall warning in Halifax on Thursday, January 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Spring 2024 has so far been characterized by near normal precipitation totals for the Maritimes.

That is in comparison to climate averages taken between 1981 and 2010. The season has been front loaded with the bulk of the total precipitation falling in the month of March. April finished with below normal precipitation and so far, May has trended towards below normal precipitation as well.

So far, spring 2024 has seen near normal amounts of total precipitation. Most of it coming in the month of March.

Due to a lack of significant snow pack over a large portion of the Maritimes over the winter, there are areas that missed out on that slow release of moisture into the ground through the first part of spring. That said, the latest drought report for the country issued by Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada does not have the region in drought conditions.

The month of May has so far trended towards being drier than average.

Wildfire Conditions 

The spring has seen periods of restricted and ban notices issued for domestic burning by all three Maritime provincial governments. While fire danger risks have been elevated in parts of western Canada where a number of impactful fires have already taken place, the danger has mostly remained in the low-to-moderate range for the Maritimes.

Seasonal predictions for fire weather severity by Natural Resources Canada have the Maritimes forecast as near average for the next three months.

The fire danger risk can change quickly. Any extended periods of dry and wind weather will elevate our risk in the region. Provincial and municipal guidelines and restrictions on outdoor fires and burning need to be adhered to carefully. Provincial restrictions are updated daily at 2 p.m.

Fire danger ratings across the country for Thursday, May 16, 2024.

The province of New Brunswick does have a fire activity report available. To date there have been 162 reported fires in the province, exceeding the average of 109 and the 120 reported last year. The total amount of area burned from the fires sits at 168.5 hectares, which is below the 202.2 hectares reported burned by this time last year.

Speaking with Mike Montigny, manager of field services with the Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Energy, and Climate Action, that province has had about an average wildfire season so far. One of their concerns is that the province is still contending with blow down left from Hurricane Fiona.

In a release, the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables of Nova Scotia states that staff have responded to 41 wildfires this year, down from 138 at this time in 2023. All 41 wildfires were found to be human caused and have burnt about 40 hectares.

Scott Tingle, Manager of Forest Protection, mentioned that while conditions are not quite as dry as last year, a couple of hot, dry, and windy days could quickly elevate the fire danger risk.

All three provinces remind the public that even permitted fires must remain under control at all times and are fully extinguished before being left. Top Stories

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