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The Stein Lake fire burns near Saint Andrews in May 2023. Image: Submitted

Below-average forest fire season in N.B.

By Brad Perry Nov 1, 2023 | 1:23 PM

While much of Canada dealt with a record-breaking forest fire season, the situation was much different here.

New Brunswick has ended its 2023 forest fire season with a below-average number of fires.

The province saw a total of 200 fires this year, compared to the 10-year average of 258.

“We did have one bump early on, late May into the first week of June, where we had quite a few fires,” said Roger Collet, the province’s wildfire prevention officer.

It was during that bump that New Brunswick saw its largest forest fire of the season.

The Stein Lake fire, near Saint Andrews, forced dozens from their homes in Chamcook and Bocabec.

It burned a total of 540 hectares — accounting for nearly two-thirds of the 856 hectares burned provincewide this season.

“We did have probably about 15 other fires that day. The conditions that were in that area were probably just slightly worse than some of the other parts of the province,” said Collet.

High winds fanned the flames and carried them from hilltop to hilltop, igniting a number of smaller fires along the way.

Collet said an after-action review conducted by the department found their overall response was well done.

“Communications could have been a little bit clearer in some cases, but as far as we’re concerned from our point of fighting the fire, we did exactly what we were trained to do,” he said.

Forest fire season in New Brunswick runs from the third Monday of April until Oct. 31.