Battle against Labrador fire continues

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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A water bomber that foundered while taking on water at Moosehead Lake in Labrador west was still waiting to be retrieved Tuesday. — Photo by Neil Simmons/Special to The Telegram

The Department of Natural Resources issued an update this morning on its continuing efforts to suppress the forest fire that has been burning in Labrador west since June 23.

The department says it has adequate resources currently in place in the Labrador region to combat the Wabush fire, including three waterbombers, six helicopters, 50 personnel, and an incident management team that is” highly skilled” and has many years of experience fighting forest fires throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Additional resources have been provided through Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), which provides operational wildlife fire-control services to members and co-ordinates the sharing of resources. A waterbomber from New Brunswick is stationed in St. John’s and one professional from New Brunswick is serving on the incident management team in Wabush.

Three additional waterbombers are stationed on the island, two in Gander and one in St. John’s, along with six helicopters and a team of firefighters. The department says if a fire were to occur in another region of the province, it would ensure resources are deployed as required.

The Wabush fire has burned an estimated 27,000 hectares, 15,000 of which are in Labrador and 12,000 in Quebec.

An outdoor fire ban for forest land continues in all Labrador regions. Outdoor fires are not permitted. Unauthorized burning, including campfires and brush burning, cannot take place in and around forested areas. Gas barbeques and CSA approved patio wood burning devices are excluded. All fireworks are included in the ban except for sanctioned firework displays by town and local communities which have appropriate fire suppression resources on hand.

The department says Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador continues to monitor the situation and is working with all provincial government departments and agencies, local governments, and the private sector in co-ordinating an exchange of information.

The number to report a fire is toll-free 1-866-709-FIRE (3473) and is available in all areas of the province during forest fire season.

For information on forest fire activity, you can visit the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s homepage at www.gov.nl.ca/ or the Department of Natural Resources homepage at www.gov.nl.ca/nr/ and click on the Active Forest Fires icon.

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, CSA Fire and Emergency Services

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Wabush, New Brunswick Wabush.Three Gander Quebec

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