MNR responds to four new fires

The Ministry of Natural Resources responded to four new forest fires in the West Fire Region as of yesterday evening.
Dryden District had two new fires while Nipigon District and Thunder Bay District dealt with one fire each. Initial attack was successful on all four and no problems were anticipated.
Including these new fires, there currently are eight active fires in the West Fire Region, with the remaining four in the Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, and Thunder Bay districts.
Fort Frances Fire #9, which started July 20 due to lightning, is burning in a designated area of Quetico Provincial Park, southeast of Atikokan, where it will be monitored as it burns.
The park uses fire in wilderness areas to reduce the risk of major blazes and to allow fire to continue to play its natural role in the eco-system, within the confines of public safety, noted MNR fire information officer Deb MacLean.
Fire is an important eco-system process within Quetico. It is the primary renewal agent in sustaining its fire-dependent tree species, and is vital to overall forest health and biodiversity.
The Quetico Fire Management Plan sets out specific criteria, which must be met, before a fire can be considered a candidate for a monitored response.
Park and fire managers assesses each individual fire occurrence within Quetico against this criteria, responding only to fires that pose a threat to human life or identified resource values.
Prescribed fires are consistent with current research and knowledge of the role of fire in the park and boreal eco-systems. The ecological role of fire is a complex process and fire-related research continues in Quetico.
Sioux Lookout Fire #30, which started July 19 northwest of Williams Bay on Lac Seul, also is classified as a “managed fire” which will be monitored as it burns.
Forest fires are a fundamental process for maintaining ecological integrity in the Lac Seul eco-system, which depends on periodic disturbance by fire for its sustainability, noted MacLean.
There have been a total of 147 fires in the West Fire Region since the MNR’s fire season officially began April 1, consuming a total of 13,846 ha.
The fire hazard is “medium to high” in all parts of the West Fire Region, except Red Lake and Sioux Lookout, where it is “low to medium.”
There are no fire restrictions in the West Fire Region, but the East Fire Region has imposed a restricted fire zone in most of northeastern Ontario.
To report a forest fire in Northwestern Ontario, call 1-888-284-3473.

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