April 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Forest-fire season in New Brunswick begins on Monday, April 20, and ends on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles urges people to be careful and take precautions to make sure fires are not carelessly ignited.
"Forest fires needlessly threaten people, kill wildlife and destroy forests that provide livelihood and recreation for New Brunswickers," he said. "Let's do all we can to ensure a safe season."
The 24-hour toll-free Burning Permit Information line will operate throughout the fire season. The toll-free line replaced the permit system, and people in rural New Brunswick no longer have to visit a Department of Natural Resources office to get a permit to burn small amounts of woody debris on their property.
Campfires and most small brushfires outside of cities, towns and some villages do not require burning permits. Larger fires require permits with terms and conditions. To find out whether burning is permitted at a particular place and time, New Brunswick residents should call the Burning Permit Information line, 1-866-458-8080.
The Department of Natural Resources encourages mulching, composting or hauling debris to a local landfill as alternate methods of disposal.
Grass fires are a major concern for firefighters in early spring, and they may cause serious damage to agricultural and forested lands. Forest fire officials warn New Brunswickers not to light grass fires in fields because fires may quickly spread to nearby forests.
People who feel they must burn grass are required to submit a written burn plan to the Department of Natural Resources; they must have an inspection done beforehand; and they must receive a written permit with departmental guidelines attached.
"Department of Natural Resources firefighters work closely with their colleagues from municipal and volunteer fire departments across New Brunswick to combat wildfires," said Stiles. "When fires break out in municipalities and rural areas, the volunteer and municipal fire departments are often the first ones called out to grass fires."
In 2008, 168 fires burned 142.5 hectares of forest land in New Brunswick. Forest land means any land outside the boundaries of a city or town, not cultivated for agricultural purposes, on which trees, shrubs, plants or grass are growing. It also includes blueberry fields and peat bogs.
For further information, call 1-866-458-8080; visit the Department of Natural Resources website; or visit any Department of Natural Resources regional or district office.
MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Jones, communications, Department of Natural Resources, 506-453-2614, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.