Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fire hazard on rise

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is cautioning people to be wary with outdoor fires heading into the long weekend.
“Right now, the fire hazard throughout the district ranges from ‘moderate’ to ‘high,’” local fire management supervisor Marney Brown said this morning.

“But with the weather we have forecasted through the weekend, we expect we’ll be in a ‘high’ hazard in pretty much the entire district as the weekend progresses,” she warned.
“For folks that are going to be out and about, we’re obviously encouraging safe use of fires,” Brown added.
“If anyone’s going to be doing any burning in municipalities, they should be contacting the municipalities first to make sure there’s no restrictions in place.
“For folks that are outside municipal areas, we ask they follow the normal burning regulations for burning of debris and what-not.”
There should be no daytime burning, noted Brown, adding the only fire allowed during daytime is small shore lunch ones.
During the MNR fire season (April 1-Oct. 31), a person cannot light a fire more than two hours before sunset and it must be extinguished within two hours after sunrise.
Brown also advised people to keep their fires fairly small in size, and always be aware of the winds as high winds increase the potential for fires to get away on them.
Until recently, the local fire scene has been fairly quiet, said Brown. But since last weekend, fire crews have had to respond to three separate blazes.
Just yesterday, Fort Frances Fire #12 was reported near Lower Manitou Lake.
This lightning-caused blaze was declared “out” at 0.1 hectares in size.
Earlier this week, a small fire started when a tree hit a power line after high winds.
And last weekend, a small fire was responded to on Sunshine Lake near Atikokan.
“It has been somewhat quiet, but we are starting to see some fires coming up, largely from lightning we’ve been receiving in the area over the last week or so,” noted Brown.
Including Fort Frances Fire# 12, three new fires were reported in the Northwest Region by afternoon yesterday, but only one was still active as of this morning.
Kenora Fire #10—a 0.2-hectare, lightning-caused blaze—was listed as “not under control” as of press time today.
Dryden Fire #5, located near Dinorwic, was reported “out” at 0.1 ha.
A second fire remains active in the region.
Red Lake Fire #17, located in Woodland Caribou Park, was listed as “being monitored” at 145 ha in size.
This blaze was first reported July 21.
In related news, almost 520 personnel from the Ministry of Natural Resources remain on assignment in Alberta, B.C., and the Northwest Territories to assist in ongoing forest fire management efforts there.
Brown said local resources have been shared in both provinces and the one territory.
To date, seven of the 10 local four-person FireRanger crews have been sent west, as well as a handful of overhead personnel.
Brown added one crew returned earlier this week while three others are returning this weekend.
“We have adequate resources to meet our anticipated fire load locally, but we continue to monitor our ability to assist partner agencies in the western provinces,” she explained.

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