Warm, dry summer sparks busy forest fire season
Published Monday, August 13, 2012 7:09PM ADT
Fire officials say this summer has been one of the busiest forest fire seasons in close to a decade.
Roughly 780 hectares have burned in Nova Scotia this year, compared to 150 hectares in 2011. In New Brunswick, 385 hectares have burned so far this year, which is almost a 900 per cent jump over all of last year.
Residents who monitor these conditions say this time of year is one of the most critical in the woods, including Murray Leger who spent Monday preparing for a campfire in Mactaquac, N.B.
Thanks to wet conditions over the past few days, there is no ban in place to stop Leger’s campfire plans, but when forests get dry, campfires are usually the first thing to go and fire bans across the Maritimes provinces snuffed out many campfires this season.
“It’s been a busy season,” says Jeff Betts, deputy officer of New Brunswick’s Forest Fire Centre.
Betts says the centre has noted this year as one of the busiest of the decade and it opened earlier this year due to an unusually dry spring, that carried over to summer.
“We’ve burned about twice the number of hectares we burn in an average year,” he says.
While none of the fires have caused any evacuations, the season still isn’t over, and Betts says the Maritimes are entering a critical period of forest fire risk.
“The fires we get this time of year generally burn a little deeper because the ground is drier down in the different layers and tougher to put out,” he says.
While there are no fire bans in place now, campers in the Maritimes are being encouraged to monitor conditions and ban information before stuffing their backpacks with marshmallows and chocolate.
An experienced camper, Leger says he understands the importance of fire bans.
“It’s a little inconvenient, but necessary.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore