Fire hazard remains high

While the area received some rain late last week, and leaves and grass are getting greener every day, the fire hazard is back up to the “high-extreme” range in the Fort Frances District and the rest of the West Fire Region, the Ministry of Natural Resources reported this morning.
“We’re holding our own here,” said MNR fire management supervisor Harrold Boven.
“We get a bit of rain, but not in any appreciable amount. It’s okay on top, but deeper down it’s still dry,” he noted, referring to grasses in area fields and forests.
Boven said the recent rain, which totalled about 12-15 mm, decreased the hazard temporarily, but it has since crept back up again.
MNR fire information officer Deb McLean said this morning that this summer quickly could shape up to be a very busy one for MNR fire crews.
“We are expecting some rain in the forecast, but how much relief it will provide is a topic that’s been up for debate since the fire season began,” she noted.
“On top of that, we’re starting to see thunderstorms,” added Mc- Lean. “While we were previously more concerned with fires caused by people, we’ve recently had two caused by lightning.
“Our resources are definitely going to be utilized,” she stressed.
The most recent fire in the Fort Frances District was a 0.1-ha blaze that started yesterday along railroad tracks 30 km north of Atikokan.
The fire was attacked by a Twin Otter and an MNR FireRanger crew, and declared “out” by the end of the day. The cause of the blaze is unknown but remains under investigation by the MNR.
This was the first fire in this area in almost a week.
There currently are seven fires burning in the West Fire Region, most of which are small and remote, said McLean. Five of these started yesterday.
There’s been a total of 210 fires in the West Fire Region since April 1, consuming a total of 1,013.9 ha.
Fort Frances has seen about 20 fires, consuming 111.9 ha.
The West Fire Region covers an area from the Manitoba border to the west shore of Lake Nipigon, and from the international border extending north of the communities of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and Armstrong.
It also extends eastward from the Nipigon River to the Pic River, and covers an area just north of Lake Superior to the international border.