Burning already

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It may seem like a long way away considering the woeful weather this part of the province has endured this spring, but the forest fire season has arrived with a vengeance in Labrador.

This past weekend, waterbombers and crews battled a blaze in the Ashuanipi River cabin area, not far from Labrador City and Wabush.

The blaze threatened several cabins, which brought back some dark memories of last summer’s costly fire season in the Big Land.

This part of the province won’t have to worry much about forest fires for a while if the rain and cool temperatures of the last few weeks is any indication, but it’s certain the sun will eventually shine and the forest will dry out before long.

We live in a region where almost every family has a summer cabin — a retreat that is the joy of their lives.

But these cabins are by their nature often located in areas that are surrounded by forests, and that puts them at real risk if a fire starts.

This province has some of the best workers and equipment anywhere but when the conditions are right, it is a chore to stop a forest fire that finds the right conditions to rage through standing timber.

The best way to fight a forest fire is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place.

We in this region know what is needed when the warm conditions arrive and the threat of fire is extreme.

It’s a rare occasion that a major forest fire hits along the west coast because we know the costs that can result — both personal and commercial.

The forest has great value on this coast — it provides fibre for papermaking, logs for sawing and beautiful vistas for those who come to visit our province to appreciate its beauty.

Now is the time, before the critical season arrives, to remind ourselves of the old and still relevant lessons about preventing forest fires.

Geographic location: Ashuanipi River, Labrador

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