Community meeting to discuss arson concerns
A meeting is planned for the River Hebert Fire Department at 7 p.m. on Thursday to talk about a rash of fires in the River Hebert-Joggins area.
RIVER HEBERT – Fire officials are holding a public meeting here Thursday amid concerns with the number of fires in the River Hebert and Joggins areas over the past few weeks.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the River Hebert Fire Department and will be attended by officials from the River Hebert and Joggins fire departments, Natural Resources, the provincial fire marshal’s office and the RCMP.
More than 80 fires have occurred in the area in the past few weeks, most of them set deliberately.
“Some of them were set intentionally and we are hoping that someone will come forward with some information for police. We’re hoping to raise some awareness of the issue,” Cumberland County fire services co-ordinator Mike Carter said Wednesday. “The weather has been so dry, and everyone knows how windy it gets around here. All it takes is one fire to get out of control and we’ll have a real emergency on our hands.”
Spring fires are nothing new in the River Hebert and Joggins areas and firefighters in both communities are used to getting numerous calls in April and May to extinguish grassfires.
“This year, for some reason, seems to be considerably worse than other years,” Carter said. “We have no idea why.”
Carter said that most are grass, brush and woodland fires.
The fire services co-ordinator said he’s concerned whoever is setting the fires will move from grass to the woods. With conditions for the most part being very dry this spring, he’s worried the communities could be dealing with a forest fire.
Const. Travise Dow of the Cumberland RCMP said the detachment is investigating several complaints from the River Hebert-Joggins area relating to arson.
“We know there have been a lot fires in the community and we’re hoping that someone may have seen something,” Dow said. “We’re trying to prevent a catastrophe from happening. It doesn’t take much for a small fire to grow into something much bigger. The last thing we want to have is a tragedy on our hands.”
Dow said people can contact the RCMP directly or through Crime Stoppers and they don’t have to give their name.