Forest fire season starts on dry note
The forest fire season in Newfoundland officially launched Saturday even though officials have been nervously watching wooded areas for weeks because of unusually mild and dry conditions earlier this year.
Seven forest fires have already been recorded on the island.
Eric Earle, supervisor of forest fire management with the Department of Natural Resources, said the risk of fire has dropped in recent weeks because of precipitation, but things could change with just a few days of warm weather.
"As we get into the spring, this early receding snowfall with the dead and dry vegetation, it makes it very susceptible to fire spread," Earle told CBC News.
"It's very easy when we get some warm days that this has the ability to dry fairly quickly and if you get a fire start in this vegetation, it can spread very quickly and get out of control because there's really no green vegetation to slow it down at this time of the year."
Earle said outdoor fires should never be left unattended, and campers should always have an adequate supply of water on hand.
Several fires have already attracted public attention recently. On April 12, a quick-moving fire in Chapel's Cove, Conception Bay destroyed several buildings and forced the evacuation of about 20 homes.
Days later, arson was suspected in a series of fires that burned near homes in Cape St. George on the Port au Port Peninsula.
The forest fire season officially starts in Labrador on May 15.