Paradise Lake cabin owners should leave area, says forest fire official

·2 min read
A firefighter working to control the Bay D'Espoir Highway fire, which has been burning in the central Newfoundland region, since Sunday, July 24, 2022. It is 10 per cent contained, according to officials. (Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture/Twitter - image credit)
A firefighter working to control the Bay D'Espoir Highway fire, which has been burning in the central Newfoundland region, since Sunday, July 24, 2022. It is 10 per cent contained, according to officials. (Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture/Twitter - image credit)
Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture/Twitter
Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture/Twitter

Forestry officials warned cabin owners around Paradise Lake in central Newfoundland to leave on Saturday as the risk of a forest fire in the area spreading increases because hot and windy weather is forecast on Sunday.

Jeff Motty, provincial forest fire duty officer, says so far no cabins or structures have been lost to the fire.

"Our efforts to date have been focused on protecting those structures," said Motty.

"We want to make sure that the cabin owners are not in there, because when things turn for the worse, they turn worse real quick … I mean that fire can jump and get legs and go."

The warning comes ahead of Sunday's weather forecast for Central Newfoundland. It calls for high temperatures and wind speeds, which can cause new fires and the spread of existing forest fires.

Forest roads near the Paradise Lake and Bay d'Espoir fires are also closed, but Route 360 — known as the Bay d'Espoir highway — remains open.

In an update provided Saturday morning, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture also recommends that residents and travellers in the area be prepared for hot weather and have an emergency plan.

The department lists five active forest fires 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 and three water bombers are assigned to it, as well as 14 workers from the forest protection centre in Gander.

"I cannot stress enough the work that the air services does between the water bomber pilots and the ground crews and the dispatch and all their management staff to be prepared to respond," said Motty.

The Bay d'Espoir highway opened to traffic on Monday evening. According to Motty, the fire there is now 10 per cent contained.

Submitted by Alisha Joe
Submitted by Alisha Joe

Motty says there are two helicopters, 38 firefighters and eight pump units deployed to the fire Saturday to fight what is estimated to be a 1,035 hectare fire, or more than 2,500 football fields.

"They're making really good progress on that site," said Motty, adding that five millilitres of rain Friday night helped crews.

Motty commends the hard work of all emergency responders involved.

"There's people in Labrador that have come down to the fire and helped fight that fire. So it's a full provincial effort," said Motty.

"Logistically, this is a very complex incident."

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

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