SAINT ANDREWS (GNB) – Staff from the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development and other agencies continue to fight a wildfire in the Stein Lake areas of Charlotte County.

There were 15 separate forest fires burning on Sunday across New Brunswick with just one, the Stein Lake fire, deemed still out of control. That fire has caused a number of people to be evacuated from their homes. One home has been confirmed as destroyed by the fire.

As of mid-afternoon today, 67 households which include 160 people, have evacuated and registered with the Red Cross. It is expected that some people have evacuated without registering. Anyone who has not registered is asked to do so at the W.C. O’Neill Arena in Saint Andrews to ensure that help can be offered to them. The arena has been opened as a reception area for those needing food and accommodation.

“The entire province is under a burn ban and weather conditions are creating a risk of fires everywhere,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “While the current fire situation is worse in Charlotte County, it is important that all New Brunswickers use caution and refrain from lighting any kind of fire including those in firepits and outdoor fireplaces. One careless act in a backyard could cause a serious incident.”

Any activity such as leaving a barbecue unattended, disposing of used charcoal, or setting off fireworks could prove disastrous, he said.

More than fifty firefighters are working on the Stein Lake fire today with more equipment being sent. Seven waterbombers are working to build fire retardant lines to protect structures and suppress any flare ups.

Current wind conditions and cooler temperatures today should help aircraft and ground crews towards their goal of containing the fire.

“We understand that the public are curious and concerned about the fire, but we need people to stay away from the fire areas,” said Higgs. “Additional traffic impedes emergency response abilities, and we need to make sure first responders are able to access these areas without any obstacles.”

Wildfires can threaten homes and destroy wildlife habitat.

New Brunswickers are encouraged to monitor the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development’s Forest Fire Watch page.

Information about road closures in the area is also available online at 511 New Brunswick.

Residents are reminded to take precautions when heavy smoke affects air quality. Infants, children, pregnant women, older adults, smokers and people with chronic heart or lung disease should stay indoors to reduce their exposure to the outdoor air. If smoke conditions become severe, people may experience eye or throat irritation and possibly shortness of breath. People should adapt their activities as necessary.

Public Health officials also recommend that residents follow these guidelines if they can taste or smell smoke in the air:

  • Be aware of your symptoms.
  • Reduce levels of physical activity as necessary.
  • Continue sheltering indoors with windows closed.
  • Turn air exchangers off to avoid bringing outside air into the home.

Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing or chest discomfort should consult their physician or contact Tele-Care 811.