Burning restrictions eased — for now — as rain reduces forest fire risk

This weekend's rainfall has allowed the province to ease burning restrictions — at least for the time being.

A province-wide burn ban has been in place for about a week as New Brunswick deals with some of the highest fire hazards in more than two decades.

The province eased those restrictions on Sunday afternoon, allowing burning between 8 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday.

But Shawn Berry, spokesperson with the Department of Energy and Resource Development, says it may only be temporary relief.

"Monday's weather will dictate whether a total fire ban is reinstated," Berry said in an emailed statement to our newsroom. "Conditions are typically updated at 2 p.m. every day."

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

Busy weekend for fire crews

Berry said more than 100 personnel battled 10 forest fires on Saturday and Sunday, which burned an estimated 12.3 hectares.

Four of those fires are under control as of Sunday afternoon, five are being patrolled and one has been declared out; no new fires had been reported as of mid-afternoon Sunday.

"[Saturday] night's rain was welcome and helped firefighters," Berry said. "That has allowed firefighters to continue to focus on putting out the fires that were reported on Saturday, including the fires at Grand Lake and south of Riverview."

Several fire departments and three water bombers spent part of the day Saturday battling a two-hectare forest fire on the west side of Grand Lake, not far from Camp Rotary.

The camp was evacuated as a precaution, with campers and staff spending Saturday night at Woolastook Park, outside Fredericton.

The fire was listed as under control on the New Brunswick Forest Fire Watch website by early Sunday morning.

An eight-hectare fire south of Riverview, which was out of control for much of the day Saturday, was considered contained by mid-morning Sunday.