Rain showers over Central Labrador yesterday (Thursday) evening took the heat off a fire that is blazing 20 kilometers north of the communities of North West River and Sheshatshiu.
Both communities were put on alert Thursday and remain on the alert as of Friday afternoon.
Eric Earle with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told the Labradorian this morning, that the precipitation has helped ‘slow the advancement’ of the fire making and is making it safe enough for water bombers to now get into the area.
“We are actually in the process of putting some crews on the ground as well to action some of the hot spots,” said Earle.
He says where there are open flames, water bombers will be sent in to extinguish the fire and once safe ground crews will go in and smother any hotspots. The fire has consumed a total of 14,000 hectares as of Friday afternoon.
“The area of the fire that they are going to be focusing on is the southern area that is closest to North West River, that is the area of concern right now,” said Earle.
DNR officials are monitoring the fire and will make a determination where crews will go in and physically fight the fire.
Temperatures are expected to warm up in Central Labrador once again Friday afternoon and even with rain Thursday evening Earle says the rain did add some relief at slowing down the fire.
“Even though we did have some rain its relief and we would like to have more, but right now we’re cautiously optimistic at this point,” he said.
The DNR suspects that the fire was ignited by a lightning storm that passed through the area of Sabasquash River on Wednesday.
Earle said they are taking the fire a day at a time, but in the event additional resources are needed, they can be brought in from other parts of the province.
Meanwhile, residents from North West River, Sheshatshiu and Happy Valley-Goose Bay are working with the local fire hall, creating a 2 kilometer firebreak using shovels, chainsaws and water pumps just in case the fire nears both communities.
Katimavik youth have also assisting with the fire by organizing and getting meals to the crews working the fire.
More Fires burn in Labrador….
The smoke hovering in the Lake Melville area Thursday was caused a fire located in the Nipishish area, located is a remote area North West of the fire in Sabasquach area.
The fire is estimated to have consumed 50,000 hectares.
“That particular fire is burning over an area that has been burned many times before, so it’s burning over a lot of older burns,” says Earle.
Currently the fire has been rated as a ‘modified response’ meaning the area will continue to be monitored by fire crews and no crews are going into the area at this time.
“Sometimes we’re not able to suppress all fires, so we basically have to permit fire to perform its natural role in the eco-system and in this particular case fires are permitted to burn,” he added.
Earle says a fire located just outside of the Cartwright area is also continuing to be closely watched by officials.
“We made progress with it yesterday, and we’re hoping today (Friday) to at bring it to a contained status,” he added.
Earle cautions Labrador residents with warmer temperatures expected in the next few days, the fire indices will increase quickly.
“When the fire-weather indices are on ‘high’ or ‘extreme’, open fires are not permitted and this is contained within the forest fire regulations which are in effect during the fire season,” he said.