A forest fire located roughly 20km north of the community of North West River and in around Sabasquach River continues to rage.
The Department of Natural Resources has been monitoring the area since the fire was first reported early yesterday evening.
“At this point in time, this is a very big fire, there’s been some rain which has helped the situation but right now we are still monitoring it,” Eric Earle Supervisor of Forest Fire Management with DNR said this afternoon. Earle said it has been suspected that the fire had started when lighting went through the area yesterday afternoon.
The most recent reports from DNR estimates that the fire has consumed 12,000 hectares of forest in the area.
“There’s an incident management team assigned to the fire and they are in the process of preparing an incident action plan, which will outline the objective and the strategies for this fire,” said Earle.
Earle says there are three water bombers currently stationed on standby in Goose Bay as well as helicopters and personnel.
“There are areas within Labrador right now, that the fire weather indices are on high and extreme, as a result of the extremely dry conditions and above season temperatures. Open fires are not permitted because there is an increased risk of a forest fire,” Earle reminds residents.
Ernie Mclean, Mayor of NWR said the Town of North West River and Sheshatshiu along with volunteers from both communities have begun working on cutting brush away to clear a 2 kilometer ‘fire-break’ north of North West River, which connects the two waterways from the forest access road and the North West River beach area.
“Everybody has worked together to ensure the protection and the safety of the residence of North West River and Sheshatshiu,” Mclean said.
“We have the residents notified that there may be an evacuation order at some point- that’s pending our updates from forestry and also an indication from them that we are in danger here,” he added.
Mclean says the Town has been monitoring the situation with forestry throughout the day.
“We’ve also been in contact with the RCMP, EMO (Emergency Measures Organization), with the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, DND with all of the agencies that we need to have in place and prepared for if we do have to evacuate the residents.”
Updates will be provided as needed.