Smoke adds new problems as Newfoundland forest fires continue to grow

Smoke from a wildfire in central Newfoundland is shown in a government handout photo on Sunday, August 7, 2022. Smoke is continuing to play an important role in the growth of both clouds. big fire. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador / Canadian Press)

The Paradise Lake wildfire tore through parts of central Newfoundland that grew an additional 6,800 hectares under firefighting efforts on Wednesday.

Provincial Forest Fire Officer Jeff Motty told CBC News on Wednesday that the fire now spans 17,233 hectares, or about 172 square kilometers.

This is a significant increase from Tuesday’s update of 10,337 hectares. The fire was estimated at 6,614 hectares on Monday.

While the area received nearly 20mm of rain on Tuesday, Motty said smoke continued to play an important role in the fire’s development.

“That put up a lot of smoke,” Motty told CBC News. “At the beginning of the incident, it caused a lot of problems, and we just had to use the surface bomber as efficiently as possible.”

The fire is still considered out of control as crews continue to work on the site Wednesday.

A man sits in front of a map of Newfoundland and Labrador wildfires.
Jeff Motty is a forest fire officer in Newfoundland and Labrador. He said crews would assess whether the D’Espoir Bay Expressway could open on Wednesday morning. (CBC)

The other major fire, burning near the Bay d’Espoir Motorway, also increased in size to 5,769 hectares – an increase of 42 hectares from Tuesday’s update.

According to Motty, eight water bombers were attacking the fire Wednesday.

The Bay d’Espoir motorway remained open as of Wednesday morning after five days of closure, but Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday they would reassess the condition of the road Wednesday morning. .

Motty said crews will be looking for low wind speeds to make a decision, which is forecast to be around 20 km/h.

“The rain definitely helped us yesterday, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” he added.

“We’re going to have to go and do another assessment today to see if it’s safe to stay open, and that will always be our number one operational goal with Bay d’Espoir Highway.” .”

Smoke is expected to enter communities on Thursday

Meanwhile, the mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor is asking residents to prepare for heavy smoke in the coming days as the winds begin to change direction.

Mayor Barry Manuel said in a news release Tuesday night that the town is expected to see smog in the community on Thursday, when winds are forecast to shift southward.

Special air quality claims still apply over much of central and western Newfoundland, including Buchans, Green Bay, White Bay, the Corner Brook area, and Gros Morne National Park.

Barry Manuel is the mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

If a resident is vulnerable to smoke and poor air quality, the town will advise residents to evacuate to temporary safe places or the evacuation shelter of the provincial government in the area, the statement said. Deer Lake.

Buses will leave the community from 11am to 5pm NT throughout Wednesday from both Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium and Windsor Stadium. Residents are asked to arrive one hour before departure and are encouraged to bring only essentials.

Pets are allowed on the bus but must be in a kettle or crate. They are not allowed into the evacuation center, but will be cared for at the pet shelter at the Deer Lake fire department.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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