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Dry spring means potential increase of wildfires in Newfoundland and Labrador

Seventy-three forest fires have burned 699 hectares of land in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2017. File photo
The provincial government says a lower than normal snowpack in Newfoundland and Labrador this spring could result in forest fires starting earlier. - SaltWire Network

The provincial government is warning of an increased risk of wildfires occurring earlier than normal this year.

Conditions are expected to be drier than they typically are this spring because of lower than usual snowpack, a release from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources issued on Friday, April 13 stated.

The situation could be compounded if there is little rainfall this spring.

The 2018 forest fire season goes into on May 1 and runs until Sept. 30 on the island portion of the province. It will start two weeks later in Labrador, May 15, and also end on Sept. 30.

The last time the province experienced similar conditions in 2012 wildfire activity increased. There were 198 wildfires that burned 225,500 hectares on land. The 20-year average is 140 fires and approximately 34,000 hectares burned.

Under the Forestry Act, a permit to burn is required to burn brush on forest land or within 300 metres of forest land during forest fire season.

Permits to burn can be obtained at regional or district forest management offices. A copy of the Forest Fire Regulations is also available at the offices.

Wildfire cans be reported at 1-866-709-FIRE (3473).

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