P.E.I. fire index high, burn permits suspended
'If you don't need to have one I wouldn't have one'
The fire weather index across P.E.I. is listed as high and Islanders are being urged not to light fires. Burning permits are also suspended.
The fire index is updated every day, typically around 1 p.m., as weather conditions generally begin to enter the high to extreme range, said Ken Mayhew, information officer at the province's Forests, Fish and Wildlife division. The index is announced on the division's website and social media platforms.
We are in a fairly serious situation.— Ken Mayhew
"There's been several days, certainly particularly in the last few weeks, where it's been at the high and above range," Mayhew said.
While the current fire index isn't unusual for this time of year, he said, the last few years have been much drier.
'I wouldn't have one'
"The key about this is that people really need to be aware that we are in a fairly serious situation," Mayhew said.
Campfires are permitted — burning permits are not needed for fires for cooking or warmth "provided they are built in properly constructed campfire sites and the person starting the fire has the permission of the landowner," according to the province's website.
Mayhew urges Islanders and visitors spending time in P.E.I. campgrounds to check with the owners before starting campfires.
He noted the liability for any damages should the fire get out of control rests on the person who started the fire.
"Often we advise people to check with their insurance companies as well, when it's up to the very high and extreme range, to ensure that they are covered should that fire get away," he said.
"If you don't need to have one I wouldn't have one."
People can be fined for burning without a valid permit, he said.