A large forest fire in western Labrador that has destroyed cabins and caused a highway closure for several days will likely continue for at least another week unless a forecast calling for rain proves to be accurate, according to a forest fire duty officer with the provincial government.
“This fire will be on the books for a while, at least until we get some rain on the weekend,” said Eric Young, a forest fire duty officer with the Department of Natural Resources.
There were hopes rain would come as soon as Friday, but Young said the latest forecast as of Wednesday evening suggested there would be no rainfall in the area until Saturday night.
“Hopefully Saturday and Sunday we’re going to get some rain, and that will help us immensely.”
On Wednesday, a portion of the Trans-Labrador Highway remained closed to general traffic, but the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary did allow vehicles carrying supplies and others dealing with emergencies to be escorted through the area.
The RNC said the fire does not pose a threat to nearby municipalities, which include Labrador City and Wabush.
Young referred to Wednesday as a good day for efforts to contain the forest fire, which covers an area of approximately six-kilometres by four-kilometres.
“The boundary of the fire did not expand thanks to the low winds and the cooler temperatures we had overnight and (Wednesday) morning,” he said. “The crews and the waterbomber were working the area around where all the cabins are situated on the Blueberry Hill area, and they made some progress. The open flames were knocked down with air tankers, and a lot of hot spots were addressed with the helicopter ... as well as the ground crew.”
Boundaries closest to cabin areas and Wabush were prioritized by crews working to control the forest fire on Wednesday.