N.B. forest fire reaches 35% containment, support being sent to Nova Scotia

Click to play video: 'Firefighters make progress fighting wildfire in Bocabec, N.B., attention moving to helping Nova Scotia'
Firefighters make progress fighting wildfire in Bocabec, N.B., attention moving to helping Nova Scotia
Five days after a wildfire broke out in the Stine Lake-Bocabec area, firefighters say the fire is now 35 per cent contained. Nathalie Sturgeon has more on how some of the province's resources are shifting to assist efforts in Nova Scotia, despite the terrain continuing to provide challenges for first responders fighting the blaze in New Brunswick – Jun 2, 2023

The Stein Lake-Bocabec wildfire is only 35 per cent contained, but crews on the ground are making headway.

On May 28, an all-terrain vehicle caught fire and flames rapidly spread to the trees nearby. It spread quickly under dry, hot conditions, it would eventually take 540-hectares of the forest and one home.

Hot spots that are near unburnt areas or homes and structures are taking priority.

“We haven’t flown that fire with the drone looking for the hot spots, I think they are working on them,” said Roger Collet, with the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development. “They are less concerned with the hot spots that are way in the middle because they really have nowhere to go – they are stuck inside the burn and they can’t really go anywhere. They’re still working on the edges.”

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At last count, there were 220 hot spots but Collet didn’t have an updated number.

In New Brunswick, there are 6 million hectares of forest, about 83 per cent of the province, and so far this year 878 hectares have been lost to wildfire.

Click to play video: 'N.B. family hopes to rebuild after home lost in Bocabec fire'
N.B. family hopes to rebuild after home lost in Bocabec fire

The terrain where the fire ignited is treacherous. It is steep, rough and hard to climb. The fire reached the highest point in Charolette County, Chickahominy Mountain. 

“It’s very difficult, I mean it is very difficult terrain … we may never have 100 per cent containment,” Collet said. “It may be that we got enough rain to knock it down to a point where we can say it’s contained or even under control.”

But as crews begin to gain control, the concern turns to Nova Scotia.

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Collet said all water bombers have been deployed to the province with the hope ground crews will join soon.

He credits the vigilance of New Brunswick residents to being able to help.

“Due to your vigilance, and continued vigilance, we are looking at sending crews to Nova Scotia, so we’re trying to get our staff together to go help our friends in Nova Scotia and put some effort on the ground itself,” he said.

There are currently 15 wildfires listed in New Brunswick, two are out of control, including the Stein Lake-Bocabec fire and another near Woodstock.

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