Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Fire Suppression

Fire Mission Statement: "To Protect our forest resource, its recreational and aesthetic value as well as public and private property from the ravaging effects of uncontrolled forest fires while preserving the health and well-being of all those who use and benefit from our forests." Fire Water Bomb

The Director of Forest Engineering and Industry Services is responsible for the Fire Suppression Program for the Forest Resources.  Field delivery is provided under the direction of the Regional Ecosystem Director using infrastructure established in the regional and district offices.

Over the years, the Department has improved its capability to suppress wildfires in the Province. Changes in the way the Department handles wildfire began in 1961 after a disastrous year. Following a very dry summer, extensive areas of Eastern and Central Newfoundland were ravaged by fire. In contrast, 1981 was even dryer but in part due to the introduction of new technology such as a Lightning Detection System, computerized decision support system, the use of fire fighting foam, better training of fire staff, the purchase of six (6) CL-215 Air Tankers and new systems and procedures such as aircraft alert codes, the Province was able to limit forest fire losses to a minimum.

The Province took the lead role in forest fire management and suppression in 1975 and as a result significant purchases of new equipment, technology and aircraft was made. A modern new Provincial Forest Fire Equipment and Maintenance Facility was constructed at Gander. In 1996, a state-of-the art hose drying, testing and repair facility was opened adjacent to the Forest Protection Centre.

C1215 Tanker

The Forest Service operates six (6) CL-215 Air Tankers along with a Cessna spotter. Four long ranger helicopters are on full time standby and others are hired as needed. This equipment is used for initial attack along with ground crews who are scattered throughout the Island and in Labrador in twenty-six (26) depots. Fire co-ordination is handled by a Duty Officer for each region who oversees the initial attacks and deploys equipment as required.

Latest News

Facts and Figures - 2011 Forest Fire Season

  • Fifty-three fires were officially recorded, burning a total of 593.8 hectares. The eastern region recorded 27 fires; western region seven, and Labrador 19.
  • Of the 53 fire occurrences in 2011, 28 were resident caused and 13 resulted from lightning. The remaining fires were incendiary, recreation related, caused at a garbage dump and miscellaneous in nature.
  • Only 57.1 hectares of productive forest land were burnt in 2011 while 536.7 hectares of non-productive forest were burnt.
  • The official forest fire season for the Island portion of the province commenced on May 1st, while the season for Labrador commenced on May 15th. The season ended on September 30th for both the island and Labrador.
  • The average total fire suppression for Newfoundland and Labrador is approximately $6 million (including water bombers) per year.
  • There is approximately 100 forest fire suppression field staff employed by the department throughout the various districts.
  • As part of the province's forest fire suppression effort six fixed wing aircraft were used along with four contract helicopters. The fixed wing aircraft recorded approximately 441 hours of bombing activity and dropped approximately 18.9 million litres of water and foam in 2011.

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