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 area of Charlotte County.

“The fire continues to be considered out of control, although firefighters and water bombers were able to do a lot of work yesterday to contain the blaze,” said Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. “A fire like this could have just as easily started in someone’s backyard or out on a trail. Please continue to be aware of the danger that any activity such as leaving a barbecue unattended, disposing of used charcoal, or setting off fireworks could cause.”

Anyone who has been required to evacuate their home is asked to register with the Red Cross at the W.C. O’Neill Arena in Saint Andrews to ensure that help can be offered to them. The arena continues to be open as a reception area for those needing food and accommodation.

More than 50 firefighters are working on the Stein Lake fire today with more equipment being sent. Yesterday, waterbombers were able to build fire retardant lines to protect structures and suppress flare ups.

Today’s efforts are focused on groundwork, with water bombers on standby in case of any flare ups. Structure protection crews remain available.

Weather forecasts are for continuing dry conditions and some potential shifts in the wind patterns later today and into Thursday creating the potential for additional fires.

“Wildfires can threaten homes and destroy wildlife habitat,” said Roger Collet, provincial fire prevention officer. “The entire province remains under a burn ban. Conditions are extremely dry and any burning activity could be disastrous. It is critical that New Brunswickers remain vigilant and do their part in helping to prevent forest fires.”

Residents 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. People in severe distress should always call 911 immediately.