New Brunswick

Forest fire rages on near Salisbury

Firefighters remain at the scene of a forest fire on River Glade Road near Salisbury and the RCMP is advising motorists to avoid the area.
The extent of the damage is unknown. (Karen Rawlines/CBC)

Firefighters remain at the scene of a forest fire on River Glade Road near Salisbury, as high winds continue to spread the flames. 

The RCMP is advising motorists to avoid the area and let firefighters do their jobs.

Crews were called to the scene early Tuesday afternoon, including firefighters from Petitcodiac, Elgin and Salisbury, as well as air support.

The fire started behind a home, which was evacuated, but not damaged, Const. Chantal Farrah said in a statement.

A few sheds burned and the fire spread to the forest, she said.

A crowd of people gathered to watch as a water bomber and another aircraft circles the skies, attempting to extinguish the flames.

No injuries have been reported.

The cause of the fire is unclear. The extent of damage is also unclear.

RCMP are on the scene, providing traffic control, Farrah said.

The fire continues to burn, with black smoke billowing from the scene.

Onlookers gathered

A water bomber works to extinguish the fire. (Patrick Buswell/Radio-Canada)

Donnie Legere, of Moncton, was in the area, watching the fire.

"From my vantage point you can really see some flames go quite a bit up over the tree line. Sometimes you’ll see some trees just go up in flames," he told CBC News.

The bomber planes appear to be helping, said Legere.

"They’ve had three drops already, which seems to help and it appears that they’re going to be dropping some more, but right now it’s still moving. It’s moving slower, but it is moving."

The windy conditions aren’t helping, said Legere.

"They’d be fighting that for sure," he said.

"You can see it from here because of the wind billowing through, you can see that it’s pushing, you know, the clouds over and the result is they’re fighting that and that would be the reason why this thing is moving."

Bill Stuart, who lives near where the fire started, said he didn't think much of it at first.

"I heard the plane come over the house, and I thought it was a friend of mine buzzin' the house — he does that all the time," he said.

"But I came out and saw it was the spotter plane. Then I came out and saw the spray planes coming in to make the drop."

Stuart was among the many people who gathered to watch even though little was visible from the road, apart from smoke and the occasional flame burst.

Art Hill, who lives across the street from where the fire started, said the restlessness of his 25 horses alerted him to the blaze.

He rushed to move a neighbour's truck from the fire's path. "There was no keys, I had to hook onto it with my four-wheel drive and yank it out of there," Hill said. "I just pulled it so it wouldn't burn."

The entire province is under a burning ban right now due to dry conditions.

New Brunswick's Forest Fire Watch website lists 221 fires so far this year, compared to just 41 during the same period last year.

More than 300 hectares have been destroyed, versus about 28 last year, according to the website.

The fires to date include 121 in the Fredericton region, 41 in Edmundston, 34 in Miramichi and 25 in Bathurst.