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Firefighters prepare to continue their battle against the Stein Lake forest fire near Saint Andrews on June 2, 2023. Image: Facebook/Brad Henderson

N.B. firefighters busy despite below-average fire season

By Brad Perry Nov 6, 2023 | 7:48 AM

New Brunswick saw a below-average year for forest fires, but that does not mean the province’s firefighters were idle.

Roger Collet, the province’s wildfire prevention officer, said crews were sent to several provinces throughout the season.

“We have six other provinces we went to help fight forest fires. We moved 236 firefighters in different roles and capacities,” Collet said in an interview.

That included sending aircraft to help battle the massive wildfires that broke out in Nova Scotia during the last few days of May.

Collet said they were preparing to send firefighters once the Stein Lake fire near Saint Andrews was under control, but heavy rain brought much-needed relief.

Before sending firefighters to another province, Collet said they always ensure the fire situation in our province is stable.

“We’re keeping an eye on the conditions here all the time, trying to predict what’s happening seven days out, and maybe even two weeks out when we can,” he said.

Firefighters are usually gone for 14 days before returning to New Brunswick, though Collet said they can always bring them home early if needed.

New Brunswick saw a total of 200 fires this year, which was down compared to the 10-year average of 258 fires.

However, the number of hectares burned was well above average due to the Stein Lake fire, which torched 540 hectares. The average season sees about 452 hectares burned provincewide.