Fire conditions in east end hazardous

Rain may have reduced the forest fire hazard in and around Fort Frances, but the Ministry of Natural Resources warns that the district isn’t completely out of the woods when it comes to fires this weekend.
“The fire hazard right now is low to high across the district,” fire management supervisor Matt Myers said this morning.
This week parts of the district received up to 19 mm of rain, or just enough to downgrade the fire index status.
The rainfall, however, wasn’t even throughout the region and in the east end of the district, areas such as Atikokan and Quetico Provincial Park the high fire hazard remains in effect.
“We’ve had one accidental, recreationally-caused fire in Quetico in the last few days,” Myers explained.
“[Campers] need to make sure that the fire is dead out.”
Myers said crews have noticed that people make the effort to put out their fires, but often leave not realizing the embers are still warm.
“Some just pour a can of water on the fire, jump in the canoe and leave,” he said.
“People should pour water on the fire, take a stick and stir to see that there are no burning embers and then pour water on it again,” Myers noted.
Even after dumping water twice, a method called “cold trailing,” Myers suggests campers place a hand over the fire to see if there is any heat coming from the embers.
“With the long weekend, we get an influx of people into the whole of Northwestern Ontario,” he said.
Myers asked travelers to check local fire conditions and be careful with any open fire.
Meanwhile local fire crews that were sent to Oregon to help battle the “Sour Biscuit” blaze there are expected to remain there for at least another week. The fire is the largest in Oregon history and has charred hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in the last month and a half.
“The ‘Sour Biscuit’ fire is reaching containment but they are expecting new start-ups,” Myers noted. “[With the] lightning and very high temperatures, we are watching the situation to see if it changes.”
In the mean time, Myers remains confident that the FireRanger crews and technicians still in the region will be able to cope with any new start-ups here over the long weekend.