Stubborn fires in central Newfoundland haven't shrunk, but risk to nearby communities remains low

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The fires in central Newfoundland aren't affecting air quality in nearby communities at the moment, but remain out of control, officials say. (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)
The fires in central Newfoundland aren't affecting air quality in nearby communities at the moment, but remain out of control, officials say. (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)
Darrell Roberts/CBC
Darrell Roberts/CBC

The two major forest fires in central Newfoundland haven't shrunk and remain out of control, officials said Saturday, but air quality risk to nearby communities remains low.

The Paradise Lake fire size is still 17,233 hectares, or 172 square kilometres, the same as it was on Friday, while the Bay d'Espoir Highway fire also remains at 5,614.0 hectares.

Crews continued to work the sites through Saturday, using water bombers and helicopters with buckets, according to the Department of Forestry.

A spokesperson with the department said they've received reports of people visiting their cabins in the area, and said anyone in the region impedes firefighting efforts, as water bombers can't operate.

"While the highway is currently open, all forest access roads in the area are closed," said the department's email.

"No residents are permitted to be in the area. These are active fire areas; and if people are in these areas, it significantly compromises our ability to fight the fires, and it endangers residents, crews, and first responders."

The department said resource enforcement officers will be patrolling the area to ensure no one is in the vicinity.

Including the resources imported from Quebec, there are eight water bombers and two bird dog aircraft assigned to the area.

The Department of Public Safety said in an update that conditions are still trending in a positive direction, with rain expected for Sunday.

The region is no longer under a state of emergency.

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