Fire index remains high

Raissa Tetanish
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OXFORD - It would take at least three straight days of rainfall to bring the fire index down from high in Cumberland East, according to one provincial fire technician.
Since lunchtime July 9, the province has faced a ban on all open fires because of the hot and humid summer weather. The ban will be in effect until mid-September unless Nova Scotia sees a significant amount of rain.
"I would like to think we would have two or three days of rain in a row, but preferably rain over a period of a week," said Lonnie Fahey, one of four fire technicians at the Department of Natural Resources district office in Oxford.
"That being because our drought codes are so high, our ground drying codes are high."
In Cumberland East, what DNR considers the Oxford area, the fire index sits at 14.7, which is high. In Cumberland West, Parrsboro-Chignecto area, the index is moderate, between 5.1 and 5.2.
"It's all in the rain that's been offered up over the past month to month-and-a-half there as opposed to here," he said.
If the conditions were to get significantly drier, Fahey says a travel ban could be put into place, something that's been done in the past. He says, however, that there hasn't been talk about that in this area so far.
The decision, if one were to be made, would come from the head of the department.
While the forecast does call for a bit of rain over the weekend, Fahey says the fire index may not change.
"It depends on the amount of rain we do get," he said. "We need at least five millimeters of rain to even effect the drought code itself, and we would need a significant amount, certainly, for Cumberland East."
During his years as a fire technician, Fahey says only one other summer stands out as a really dry year.
"Two thousand and one was as dry as it is now, and there was a ban on into September, but since then, it''s not something I can recall."

rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: OXFORD, Cumberland East, Nova Scotia Cumberland West

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