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An aerial view of the fire in the Bocabec and Chamcook areas on Monday, May 29, 2023. Image: Submitted/Jamieson Smith

UPDATE: Evacuation order lifted in Saint Andrews area

By Brad Perry May 30, 2023 | 3:51 PM

Evacuated residents in the Bocabec and Chamcook areas, near Saint Andrews, can now return home.

During a Tuesday afternoon news conference, officials announced that an evacuation order in the area had been lifted.

Between 250 and 400 homes were evacuated on Sunday after an ATV fire became a fast-moving forest fire.

Saint Andrews Mayor Brad Henderson said while this is welcome news, residents should not let their guard down.

“Although the firefighters are definitely feeling confident about the distance between structures, it is still an active fire,” said Henderson.

“You still have to be aware of your surroundings. If you do see anything, call 911.”

The emergency centre at the W.C. O’Neill Arena Complex will remain open Tuesday night for anyone who chooses to stay another night in Saint Andrews.

More than 200 people from 86 homes have registered with the Canadian Red Cross but no one is staying at the emergency centre.

While the ‘Stein Lake’ fire is still listed as out of control, according to the provincial forest fire centre, the size of the blaze remains unchanged at just over 600 acres.

The province’s wildfire prevention officer said the fire was “pretty quiet” on Tuesday afternoon and they felt confident in letting residents return home.

But Roger Collet said they will not hesitate to evacuate residents again if the situation chagnes.

Collet said Tuesday’s efforts are taking place on the ground with more than 50 firefighters working to extinguish hundreds of hotspots.

“The waterbombers that were being used in the past couple of days are on standby and will be ready to take to the air again if and when they are required,” he said.

Collet said the weather has worked in their favour over the past couple of days, but with temperatures expected to surpass 30°C on Wednesday and Thursday, people need to be diligent.

No injuries have been reported in this fire but one home has been destroyed. Public Safety Minister Kris Austin said there will not be any financial assistance available from the province.

“In order to qualify under the Disaster Financial Assistance Program, it would have to be a large event that would fall under certain criteria. Unfortunately, this hasn’t met that threshold,” said Austin.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for the affected family, who did not have insurance. More than $4,100 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, DNRED said there are more than a dozen other active fires throughout the province as of Tuesday afternoon, though the Stein Lake fire is the only one still considered out of control.

The 40-hectare fire dubbed ‘Valley Fire’ in the Belleisle area is being patrolled along with the 17-hectare ‘Post Road’ fire in the Minto area.

The 32-hectare ‘Prides Landing’ fire in the Fredericton Junction area is still not under control but has been contained.

Photos taken at 9:00pm. Smouldering spots. No visible fire from above. Killer sunset though, Mount Katahdin off in distance.

Posted by Jamieson Smith on Monday, May 29, 2023


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