CBC NEWS — The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has issued a ban on all open fires in or near wooded areas until Sept. 30.

Government says the goal is to reduce the number of potential wildfires in the province which would require response by fisheries and land resources fire staff, local and volunteer fire departments and other first responders during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Historically, 80 per cent of forest fires in the province are caused by people,” government said in a public advisory issued on Wednesday.

The ban specifically prohibits the setting of all open fires on forest land, or within 300 metres of forest land for all regions of the province.

The ban also includes grass burning, brush burning, campfires and personal fireworks.

The provincial government said gas barbecues and CSA approved patio fire pits are excluded from the ban, except in municipalities that have issued their own ban.

“This is consistent with actions being taken by other forest fire fighting agencies in Canada to lower the risks associated with COVID-19 exposure,” the advisory reads.

“The minimum fine associated with the violation of the fire ban proclamation is $1,000. The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources has already recorded five wildfires this year related to the burning of grass by individuals.”