Rains helping crews contain wildfires in New Brunswick

Restrictions on burning in parts of New Brunswick have been lessened as of mid-afternoon Sunday and crews are still at the scene of numerous wildfires.

Province has relaxed burning restrictions, allowing some fires between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Oromocto Fire Department helped fight the fire in Grand Lake yesterday. T429 crew Lt. Comeau, FF Price, FF Davidson, FF Milne (Oromocto Fire Department Facebook)

Restrictions on burning in parts of New Brunswick have been lessened as of mid-afternoon Sunday and crews are still at the scene of numerous wildfires.

There had been a complete ban on burning in the province for about a week. Sunday's rain allowed the province to ease those restrictions so some burning will be allowed between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. 

The ministerial order barring forestry operations between noon and 8 p.m. remains in effect.

Several fires broke out in the province on Saturday, including one on the outskirts of Riverview. The town posted on its Facebook page that the fire was contained within a fire break by mid-morning.

Crews are asking people to stay clear of the area until it can be extinguished.

Fire started under power line

Charles Comeau, incident commander for the Department of Energy and Resource Development, said aircraft tackled the fire from above and bulldozers finished building a fire break Saturday night.

"It's a lot of smoke in [the] fire, a lot of smoke," he said. "This morning with all that rain, it looked really good. No danger to the public. No danger to houses, it looks good."

Comeau said the fire started under a power line and burned about 4.5 hectares of land.

He said an investigator arrived at the site Saturday to look into the cause but he had no timeline for when a report would be available. 

Residents in all part of New Brunswick are allowed to burn between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Rain helping conditions

Riverview isn't the only fire burning. As of 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the province reported nine wildfires. Most were being patrolled or considered under control. No new fires started on Sunday.

Shawn Berry, a spokesperson for resource development, said more than 100 personel were out battling the fires over the weekend. 

"Downpours overnight and this morning will hopefully help a lot as crews around New Brunswick put out fires," he said in an emailed statement. 

An updated version of the forest fire map in New Brunswick as of 1:40 p.m. Sunday. (NB Forest Fires )

Campers relocated as precaution

A wildfire that started in Grand Lake Saturday evening also forced the evacuation of Camp Rotary. The camp said RCMP asked them to move as a precaution.

Campers were sent to Woolastook Park outside of Fredericton. The camp said on it Facebook page Sunday afternoon that the evacuation order had been lifted. 

The province lists the fire as one that is "being patrolled."

'Could have been real disaster'

Richard Arsenault, who has a home and a camp in Sunnyside Beach near the Grand Lake fire, was away at his hunting camp when he heard about it. 

He said the winds were favourable, blowing the flames and smoke away from his property. 

"If the winds were blowing the other way it could have been a real disaster," he said Sunday.

"We had a fire there on the same dirt road about three or four years ago. This time is was worse than that, so I was a little more nervous."

Quick response

He said firefighters and water bombers responded quickly. 

"The only thing I was really worried about was if the field next door caught. My neighbour's house burned down in December. Where he is sitting at in the woods, it could have burned his new construction down," said Arsenault.