FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Energy and Resource Development is urging all forest users to increase their vigilance and take steps to reduce risks due to the current and forecasted fire hazard.

“The fire hazard in our province is at the highest level that we have observed in more than 20 years. The safety of New Brunswickers is our priority,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet.

To help mitigate the risk, Doucet has issued a ministerial order under the Forest Fires Act that will take effect at noon today, ordering restrictions on forestry operations throughout the province.

The restrictions include no harvesting, forwarding, site preparation or pre-commercial thinning between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. for all operations with two or more people or operations using mechanical equipment.

“I am pleased that a number of forestry companies voluntarily adopted these measures earlier this week,” said Doucet. “While these restrictions are for forestry operations on Crown and private lands, including private woodlot owners, this is also a good reminder to anyone in New Brunswick’s forests, recreational users and others, to take precautions and curtail their activities to help mitigate the risk of forest fires.”

Wildfires can also threaten people's homes and destroy wildlife habitat. The province is currently closed to all burning, including firepits and backyard fireplaces.

Aerial detection aircraft continue to fly over New Brunswick searching for wildfires. Department ground crews are ready to respond when fires are reported. They will work with municipal and volunteer fire departments as well as forest industry workers.

Water bombers are also ready to assist in responding to forest fires.

So far this year, a total of 98 wildfires have burned almost 124 hectares of forest land. To this date last year, 241 wildfires had consumed more than 224 hectares. The 10-year average to this date is 197 wildfires and 273.4 hectares.

Fire conditions and other details are available online at and @NBForestFires. To report a fire, call 9-1-1 or your local Energy and Resource Development office. A list of offices and phone numbers is available online.