FREDERICTON (GNB) – The 2018 forest-fire season in New Brunswick begins April 16.

Anyone igniting a Category 1 fire (fires with a diameter of three metres or less) should ensure burning is allowed in that area. This can be done by calling the toll-free burn line at 1-866-458-8080 or by visiting the Department of Energy and Resource Development website.

Category 2, 3 and 4 fires require a written permit. Applications are available at the department’s district offices.

Burning grass is considered a Category 4 fire that requires a written permit. Many people consider burning grass as a safe and helpful way to renew the growth of new grass in the spring. However, the reasons for spring grass burning are largely unfounded and, rather than being beneficial, it can be destructive and dangerous. A list of myths and facts surrounding grass burning is available online.

Under the Forest Fires Act, if you ignite a fire on forest land, you are responsible for it. If your fire gets out of control, you may be liable for the cost of fighting the fire and/or the destruction of other people’s property. You may also face criminal penalties for violating burning regulations.

During fire season, anyone who conducts an industrial operation on forest land must possess a valid work permit. Work permits specify the required fire equipment and the location information of the operation. Permits can be obtained at any of the department’s district offices at no cost to the applicant.

Inspections will be conducted by officers throughout the season to ensure compliance with industrial operations. Violators can be ticketed $604.50 for failing to possess a valid work permit or not meeting the requirements of a permit.

Each year, forest fire season begins on the third Monday of April and continues until Oct. 31 unless otherwise indicated.

Locations of the nearest district offices are available online.