NL Gazette

N.L. government announces state of emergency as forest fires rage

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • The order covers several communities in central Newfoundland.
  • The state of emergency covers the Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop’s Falls, and Connaigre Peninsula regions. 

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has announced a state of emergency in areas of central Newfoundland as forest fires persist to rage out of control.

The state of emergency covers the Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop’s Falls, and Connaigre Peninsula regions. 

In a video statement published to social media Saturday evening, Premier Andrew Furey named it the worst fire crisis in Newfoundland since 1961. He said while the fires aren’t terrorizing communities at the moment, “the wind is changing, and the way of smoke distribution will change greatly.”

“This is a dynamic crisis,” he stated, flanked in the video by Forestry Minister Derek Bragg and incident commander Jason Glode.

Read more: Port au Port wind project requires more details and an environmental impact report

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has announced a state of emergency in areas of central Newfoundland as forest fires persist to rage out of control

Furey stated they’d requested the Central Health area to create an evacuation procedure for its hospitals, long-term care homes, and personal care residences should the need emerge. People in the impacted communities should also be up for possible evacuation. “We don’t want to make panic, but we ought to act responsibly given the current danger level,” he said.

In a tweet on Saturday evening, federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said he had backed the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s request for help from the Canadian Forces. Blair stated personnel will support “plan and co-ordinate evacuation and movement functions from impacted sites.”

The blazes in central Newfoundland have been burning for two weeks, and the largest, around the Bay d’Espoir Highway, has forced the ongoing shutdown of the only route in and out of the Connaigre Peninsula. 

In Saturday evening’s video statement, Bragg said officials are concerned that given the predicted climate situation, that fire will merge with another burning nearby at Paradise Lake.

Source – CBC News

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