May 16, 2018 4:23 pm

Miramichi wildfire contained amid busy fire season in New Brunswick

Firefighters in New Brunswick have beaten back a large fire in the Miramichi region, marking an end to the 94th fire in 2017.

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New Brunswick firefighters have knocked down a 23-hectare wildfire in the region of Miramichi, N.B., on Wednesday.

“I’m just happy that the fire has been contained,” said Mario Berthiaume, chief of the Miramichi Fire Department, on Wednesday.

Officials are still worried about the possibility of the blaze returning. Forest fires tend to continue burning underground — making it hard for firefighters to detect.

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As a result, the province has officially downgraded the Miramichi fire to being patrolled, meaning they’ll be keeping an eye on the region.

READ MORE: ‘Tent city’ caused brush fire in Moncton, officials caution against outdoor burning

But the fire in Miramichi is only the latest in what has been a busy season for firefighters in New Brunswick.

As of Wednesday, the province has had more than three times the number of fires this season (94) as it did at the same point last year (25).

The number of fires so far in 2018 is quickly approaching the average number experienced over the last 10 years: 125.

Most of the province is under a fire ban as forest fire season arrives. It’s a consequence of a dry period at this time of year. It may be hard to believe, given the recent flooding events in parts of southern New Brunswick, that the one ingredient the province needs most of is rain.

Troy Adams, the supervisor of the Provincial Fire Centre, told Global News last week that vegetation this time of year is rather dry because of milder temperatures and wind.

READ MORE: New Brunswick experiencing more than triple the forest fires that it did last year

People are being reminded to use care when discarding cigarettes, as smoking materials can ignite vegetation in mere seconds.

If you’re caught disobeying burn bans, you could face a fine of $172.50.

— With files from Morganne Campbell

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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