MNR fire season off to quiet start

The Ministry of Natural Resources is finding the 2005 fire season, which runs April 1-Oct. 31, is off to a slow start here.
“There’s no fires to report at this time,” MNR fire information officer Deb McLean said this morning.
“We had a fairly normal winter, and, in fact, even had some areas with above-normal precipitation,” she noted. “That was followed by a cool March, with snow melting slowly. There’s even some snow coverage in some areas.
“We’re off to a ‘normal’ start.”
But McLean also noted spring is an unpredictable time of the year when it comes to grassfires and it’s entirely possible the MNR will see blazes—particularly those caused by human activity—at any time.
“When the snow goes away, people usually want to do a spring clean-up,” said McLean. “The snow has gone away, but there hasn’t been the ‘green up.’
“It’s during that transitional period when we often see the first fires of the season.”
The first fire of the season last year —a 1,200-plus ha. blaze northwest of Rainy River—occurred during such a transition.
McLean wouldn’t make any predictions as to the fire season ahead. “There’s not a spring or summer identical to the previous one,” she noted.
For instance, the first fire of the year for this region last started in late April. But in 2003, about 10 fires were reported in the West Fire Region in the first week of April.
McLean said that start of the MNR fire season means the Forest Fire Prevention Act is in effect and burning during the day is prohibited right now. Anyone who wants to do any burning at all should contact their local MNR office.
McLean added the MNR’s fire management currently is training and soon will bring the seasonal firefighters on staff.