Emergency centre set up in New Brunswick town due to forest fire

KEDGWICK, N.B. – A reception centre has been set up in a community hall in a village in northwestern New Brunswick in case a forest fire forces people to flee their homes.

However, a spokesman for the provincial Department of Natural Resources says the fire has “subsided substantially” Tuesday night and there were no evacuations in Kedgwick, about 300 kilometres north of Fredericton.

A spokeswoman for the RCMP said earlier that some residents were being asked to evacuate because the fire was drawing dangerously close to the community.

Natural Resources official Charles Beaulieu said a meeting was held with residents Tuesday night to bring them up to speed on the situation and they returned to their homes.

Beaulieu says the fire covers about 75 hectares.

He says bulldozers planned to work around the community overnight and crews would be back working the fire in the morning.

Department spokeswoman Ann Bull said a fire in the Colpitts Settlement area, about 40 kilometres west of Moncton, had spread over a 500-hectare area and had destroyed at least two homes.

Tyson Lewis, the assistant deputy chief of the Moncton Fire Department, says some people living on Middlesex Road, near Colpitts Settlement, and along the Sanitorium Road, were asked to leave their homes.

He estimated eight fire departments were involved in fighting the blaze in southeastern New Brunswick.

The department says water bombers and helicopters were also dispatched to assist in fighting both fires.

Beaulieu says conditions are extremely dry and that the entire province is under a no burn order.

The department’s website says there have been 259 man-made fires so far this year, including 60 over the past weekend.