Paradise Lake cabin owners should vacate area, says wildfire official

A firefighter works to control the Bay D’Espoir Highway Fire, which has been raging in central Newfoundland since Sunday, July 24, 2022. It is 10% contained, officials say. (Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture Department/Twitter)

Forestry officials have warned cabin owners around Paradise Lake in central Newfoundland to leave on Saturday as the risk of a wildfire spreading through the area increases as warm and windy weather is forecast for Sunday. .

Provincial Forest Fire Service Officer Jeff Motty says to date no cabins or structures have been destroyed by the fire.

“Our efforts to date have focused on protecting these structures,” Motty said.

« We want to make sure the cabin owners aren’t there because when things get bad, they get bad really fast… I mean the fire can jump and have legs and go. »

The warning comes ahead of Sunday’s weather forecast for central Newfoundland. It requires high temperatures and wind speeds, which can cause new fires and the spread of existing wildfires.

Logging roads near the Paradise Lake and Bay of Hope fires are also closed, but Route 360 ​​— known as the Bay of Hope Highway — remains open.

In an update provided Saturday morning, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture also advised residents and travelers to the region to prepare for hot weather and have a contingency plan.

The ministry lists five active wildfires in the province – Deer Pond, two near Newton Lake, one near the Bay d’Espoir Highway and Paradise Lake.

All fires except Paradise Lake are listed as contained to varying degrees.

Paradise Lake remains out of control with three water bombers assigned there, along with 14 workers from the Gander Forest Protection Center.

« I can’t stress enough the work the air services are doing between the water bomber pilots and ground crews and dispatch and all of their executive staff to be ready to respond, » Motty said.

The Baie d’Espoir highway was reopened to traffic on Monday evening. According to Motty, the fire is now 10% contained there.

Charred trees and vegetation line parts of the Bay D’Espoir Highway after a large wildfire swept through the area, closing the highway. (Submitted by Alisha Joe)

Motty says there are two helicopters, 38 firefighters and eight pump units deployed to the blaze on Saturday to battle what is estimated at 1,035 hectares, or more than 2,500 football fields.

« They’re making really good progress at this site, » Motty said, adding that five milliliters of rain Friday night helped the crews.

Motty salutes the hard work of all the emergency responders involved.

“There are people in Labrador who have come down to the fire and helped fight this fire. So it’s a full provincial effort,” Motty said.

« From a logistical point of view, this is a very complex incident. »

As of Saturday morning, a total of 61 wildfires in the province have been recorded so far in 2022, burning a total of 2,714 hectares.

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