Nova Scotians will need burning permits as of today, April 15,with the start of fire season. Burning permits have been required in the counties of Queens,Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Lunenburg sinceApril 1. Fire season continues through to Oct. 15. “Some people seem to misunderstand the intent of burning permitsand feel they can burn only during fire season when permits areavailable,” said Robert Uttaro, supervisor of the fire controldivision of the Department of Natural Resources. “For the mostpart, rural residents don’t need a burning permit to collectdebris and burn it during the winter when there is a protectivecovering of snow. People should check with their nearest NaturalResources office for local burning regulations.” Burning permits are required to burn non-toxic refuse and debrisoutdoors once fire season begins. Domestic burning permits cost$5. Industrial permits cost $50. These fees have not changed fromprevious years. The permits are available at local NaturalResources offices and at some municipal fire departments. “As Nova Scotia emerges from spring to summer, the forests losetheir natural protection provided by the winter snows and springrains. As the potential for forest fires grows, people must takeprecautions to prevent fires, and that includes getting a burningpermit,” said Mr. Uttaro. There have been an average of 335 forest fires during the last 10years, each burning an average of 661 hectares. In 2004, thenumber dropped to 264 fires, with 290 hectares burned. Ninety-seven per cent of forest fires are caused by people. Thetop three causes are residential debris and garbage burning,which start 34 per cent of the fires; incendiary devices andarson cause 22 per cent; and recreational activities oraccidents, such as campfires and improperly disposed cigarettes,which cause the third largest number of fires. Fire prevention is one responsibility of the Department ofNatural Resources. The fire weather index, and other fireprevention information, is posted daily during fire season on thedepartment’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/protection .