The Honourable John Hogan, QC, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, has ended the states of emergency for the areas of Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop’s Falls, the Connaigre Peninsula and Botwood effective 12:01 a.m., August 13, 2022.

It is important to remember that forest fires are ongoing and fire situations can be unpredictable. Residents are encouraged to stay safe, be prepared and monitor current conditions. Detailed emergency preparedness advice, including a downloadable emergency kit checklist, is available at www.gov.nl.ca/beprepared. Resources to combat the fire and support residents are still available and active. Expanded or additional resources can be deployed if the situation changes.

In consultation with partners, a number of criteria were considered when determining whether to lift the state of emergency. These include, but are not limited to, air quality in the area, fire behaviour and weather conditions. Officials monitor weather as it relates to wind speed and direction, cloud cover, relative humidity and temperature. The current forecast is showing favourable weather conditions and continuing to trend in a positive direction.

The Provincial Government continues to work with emergency management partners and others to address the ongoing forest fires in the Central region of the island portion of the province. Officials continue to coordinate the response with municipalities in the region. Municipalities in the central region are encouraged to continue applying their emergency management plans.

Updates on resources and assistance will continue to be made available continuously throughout this evolving situation.

Air quality
Air quality related to forest fires in the central region of the island is currently low risk. This is expected to remain low for at least the next 48 hours. While the forest fires remain out of control, conditions are stable and continue to trend in a positive direction.

The current forecast is projecting the weather to be partly cloudy with light winds from the south, elevated relative humidity and moderated temperatures throughout the day today (Friday, August 12). The forecast for the weekend is similar with a high chance of precipitation on Sunday, August 14. Overall air quality is expected to remain good. This may be revised if fire and/or smoke conditions change. For more information on air quality, visit the Environment Canada Grand Falls-Windsor Air Quality Health Index.

Forest fires can increase air pollution levels.

Forest fire smoke contains particles and pollutants that can harm your health. To protect yourself, if there is smoke in the area, you should keep windows and doors closed as long as the temperature is comfortable and turn off or use recirculation settings on your HVAC system to prevent smoke from entering your home.

Roads
The Bay d’Espoir Highway (Route 360) will remain open. Please note that visibility may be reduced and motorists should drive carefully and not stop.

Forest resource roads along Bay d’Espoir Highway (Route 360) remain closed and cabin owners should refrain from entering the area. If you are currently in the area, please vacate immediately as you are endangering yourselves and first responders.

Accommodations
The Canadian Red Cross shelter services established at the Hodder Memorial Centre in Deer Lake to support those impacted by the forest fires in Central Newfoundland have been suspended. Transportation services to Deer Lake have also been suspended, as these services are not required at this time.

If the need arises, shelter services and transportation will be re-established in a timely manner to meet the needs of individuals impacted.

Comfort stations are available to residents and are located at all provincial park locations. All comfort stations have showers, toilets, sinks and coin-operated laundry. There are Wi-Fi hotspots for use at the parks and water taps are available throughout. Please note, we are advising residents not to visit comfort stations that are in direct proximity to the Central Newfoundland fire, such as Notre Dame Provincial Park at the Lewisporte Junction. To find a provincial park location nearest you, please visit www.parksnl.ca/.

Important Contacts for Assistance
For those who have health conditions or sensitivities to poor air quality or other negative effects from the nearby smoke from the forest fires, more information from the Health Authority is provided in the Central Health operations update. As the fire and smoky conditions continue, residents are encouraged to contact 811 or to see a health care provider if they experience any new or concerning symptoms that they feel could be related to the heat or smoke.

Two toll-free phone numbers have been established to help field inquiries pertaining to the Central Newfoundland forest fire emergency. The phone lines will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. A messaging service is available to assist with incoming calls outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. These include:

  • 1-833-845-0775: Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) Phone Line for inquiries regarding supplies, transportation and general questions.
  • 1-833-960-4571: Central Health Phone Line for all health inquires.

To help residents and tourists make informed decisions before they travel, please visit the NL511 website at www.nl511.ca. NL511 provides up-to-date information on driving conditions, highway cameras, major incidents, current ferry status updates, and weather. An NL511 app is also available for smartphones.

Be Prepared
Emergencies can happen at any time and without warning. All households should have an emergency plan and kit ready. Municipalities, local service districts, power utilities and health authorities have emergency and contingency plans that are activated when the need arises. Detailed emergency preparedness advice, including a downloadable emergency kit checklist, is available at www.gov.nl.ca/beprepared.

Mental Health
Emergency events, such as a forest fire, can lead to fear and anxiety. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, need support, or are looking for health information, call 811 at any time.

If you are feeling anxious and alone, you can also call the Provincial Lifewise Warm Line at 1-855-753-2560, seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to midnight, to speak with a trained peer support worker who is there and ready to listen.

You can also visit Bridge the Gapp to access age-appropriate programs and services that are available locally, confidential and free.

Call 811 to find the nearest Doorways Drop-in Counselling Clinics where counselling services (in person or by telephone) are available without an appointment or referral.

Updates on conditions, resources and assistance will be made available continuously throughout this evolving situation. For the most up to date information, please follow the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on Facebook and Twitter.

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Media contact
Emily-Jane Gillingham
Justice and Public Safety
709-729-2634, 730-4607
emilygillingham@gov.nl.ca

2022 08 12 5:25 pm