Quiet fire season

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Cool, damp weather has kept forest fires to a minimum this year, but Natural Resources officials remain on their guard

Cool, wet weather earlier this summer may not have been good for the backyard barbecue, but it was a blessing for forests across northern Nova Scotia

Quiet fire season

Cool, wet weather earlier this summer may not have been good for the backyard barbecue, but it was a blessing for forests across northern Nova Scotia

The 2007 forest fire season will likely go in the books as one of the quieter ones in recent memory, but that doesnt mean firefighting agencies or officials with Natural Resources fire services in Shubenacadie are letting down their guard.

The fires were earlier this year and that follows a general trend in Nova Scotia in recent years, fire services supervisor Rob Uttaro said. We are seeing a lot of spring fires and then things taper off. It got very quiet in June and that had a lot to do with the amount of rain we had and the frequency of it.

Pictou County has had the most fires in the northern region this season with 15 fires burning 19 hectares of forestland while there were 13 fires in Cumberland County burning 78 hectares. Colchester County had 11 fires this season accounting for 9.3 hectares while there were eight fires in Antigonish County, burning 13 hectares.

Provincially there have been 394 fires covering 692 hectares with most of the activity occurring in Cape Breton where there have been 138 fires responsible for burning 156 hectares.

A number of conditions are required for forest fires including warm, dry weather with low humidity. The lack of snow cover over the past few winters has resulted in the fire season starting earlier while the frequency of rain in the past two summers has helped keep the fire index lower than in previous years.

It has been quiet of late but all it will take is a few days of hot, dry weather and the index will be bumped back up, he said.

At the same time, Uttaro said, people using the woods are more cognizant of what conditions increase the fire hazard and are taking precautions during periods when the index is high or extreme. For example, he said, dry springs have forced the province to put burning bans in place earlier than ever before.

Geographic location: Northern Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia Pictou County Cumberland County Colchester County Antigonish County Cape Breton

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