Province warns about grass fire danger

Fire crews on P.E.I. had to respond to at least eight brush fires over the Easter weekend.

That included three in the southern Kings area that kept the local fire brigade busy, and the rest were spread around the province.

While it may seem a little early for conditions to be right for fires, this time of year is actually one of the more dangerous.

"Every spring we seem to get this kind of situation before we get a green-up," said Mike Montigny, the province's field service manager.

"We get a lot of the grasses and a lot of the fuels that are out there dry out very, very fast. Grasses in particular can be a very flashy fuel before they green up. When fires get into those dried-out fuels they can go very fast on people."

Take extra caution

That means people who want to burn dead grass or brush to clean up their properties should take extra caution, said Montigny.

Outside of municipalities, the province requires burning permits to get rid of vegetation and natural brush, available through the Forest, Fish and Wildlife branches.

"They are to allow you to work within the fire weather index system we have, and the wind limits that we have in place," said Montigny.

Watch the wind

Wind can be particularly deceptive in these conditions, he said, and quickly feed those dry grasses and leaves.

It's recommended that people should only burn with winds below 10 km/hour.

There's the danger to remember, as well as the chance of a major fine if a fire started without a permit gets out of control.

"Any time that we have to roll out our large equipment and specialized equipment, there's a potential that all those costs are going to be pushed back on the person," Montigny said. "Those can get very expensive very, very fast."

He recommends that anyone planning to burn get a permit first, and make sure they have the right tools and manpower handy in case the fire starts growing out of control.

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