New Brunswick

Quiet forest fire season in N.B.

The cool, damp weather means there have been fewer forest fires than usual in New Brunswick so far this summer.

The cool, damp weather means there have been fewer forest fires than usual in New Brunswick so far this summer.

In fact, it's been a record low year for forest fires, Jeff Betts, a duty officer at the provincial forest fire centre, said Thursday.

"We have a record low fire season as far as numbers of fires and hectares burned," he said.

Firefighters were kept busy in the early part of the summer,  mainly because there were nuisance fires, Betts said. But because of all the rain and cool temperatures, the amount of burned forest doesn't add up to much.

"The size of two football fields, if you combine it all," Betts said.

It's also been a quiet summer for the province's fleet of air tankers in Miramichi, he said.

"They're just on standby these days, nothing much for them to do. I think they have been on a few spray projects in the downtimes, but they're standing by," Betts said.

The province has about 250 wildlife and forestry officers trained to fight fires. This summer they're doing their regular work.

Betts said some are fighting fires in other provinces.

"To keep them sharp, to keep their skills sharp, we mobilize them out of province and they can go work on forest fires in Ontario or Alberta or wherever," he said.

Betts said about 35 staff are now in Ontario helping fight fires. That province is paying their salaries.

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