FREDERICTON (GNB) – The 2019 forest-fire season in New Brunswick begins April 15 and ends Oct. 31.

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.

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. People who deem it necessary to burn grass must submit a written burn plan to the department, have an inspection beforehand, and then receive a written permit.

During fire season, anyone who conducts an industrial operation on forest land must possess a valid work permit that specifies the required fire equipment and the location 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.

In 2018, 285 fires burned 311 hectares of forest land in New Brunswick. Forest land includes any land outside the boundaries of a city or town, not cultivated for agricultural purposes, on which trees, shrubs, plants or grass are growing. It also includes blueberry fields and peat bogs.

More information, including the Forest Fire Weather Index and the Provincial Forest Fire Summary, is available online.

Details on other burning permits are available at the nearest office of the Department of Energy and Resource Development or by calling, toll-free, 1-866-458-8080.