Forest fire numbers higher in 2012

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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The hot, dry weather enjoyed by residents of Newfoundland and Labrador meant a higher than usual incidence of forest fires during the 2012 forest fire season, according to statistics from the provincial government.

 “The warm temperatures and lack of precipitation created ideal conditions for forest fires with staff responding to 197 forest fires between May and September,” Jerome Kennedy, minister of natural resources and minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, said today in a news release.

“This was a busier than usual season, especially in Labrador," Kennedy said. "In some instances new fire starts were reported daily. Our fire fighters, permanent staff, Incident Management Team, Air Services pilots and maintenance crews are to be commended for their tremendous efforts.”

 The official forest fire season began on the island on May 1 and in Labrador on May 15. The season ended in both regions on Sept. 30. During that period 137,543 hectares of forest land was burned, including 2,463 hectares on the island and 135,080 in Labrador.

 In May, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) requested the department to assist in fighting a fire in Ontario. Two CL 415 water bombers were deployed, the first on May 5 for two weeks and the second on Aug. 20 for 12 days. Newfoundland and Labrador is a member of CIFFC, which coordinates fire control services through the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing (MARS) Agreement.

 The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for forest fire suppression on all forest land within the province, except on federal lands which is the responsibility of Parks Canada staff. However, the province does provide support when requested.

Organizations: Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, Air Services Department of Natural Resources Parks Canada

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario

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