A forest fire near Portugal Cove South on the Avalon Peninsula was allegedly caused by illegal burning, says the provincial government.
“The fire necessitated a response by Fisheries and Land Resources forest firefighting staff and a water bomber from Gander,” the department said in a press release Tuesday morning.
It said the fire started Saturday, and investigators believe it began with burning debris at a resident property in the community.
The fire has since been contained and is being monitored by crews, but conservation officers have determined it occurred during high winds that caused it to get out of control, burning an area roughly eight hectares large.
Although the department did not say penalties have been issued, it noted violations of provincial forest regulations can range from a ticket to a fine of at least $500, or three months of jail time. Additional offences can result in a fine of at least $1,000 or three months in jail.
The department reminded the public forest fire season for Newfoundland is in effect until Sept. 30, so no permits to burn grass, brush or other materials will be issued. In Labrador, forest fire season starts June 1 and lasts until Sept. 30, depending on weather conditions and wildfire risk.
“This action has been taken to reduce the wildfire threat and risk of COVID-19 exposure for firefighters and other first responders,” the department said.