Fire hazard creeping up More MNR firefighters heading east

The fire situation continues to be very quiet in the West Fire District, with no active fires anywhere in Northwestern Ontario.
But the Ministry of Natural Resources is warning that situation could turn around as the fire hazard has reached “medium-high” and even “high-extreme” levels in parts of the region.
“Not only is the fire hazard climbing to extreme, but we have a situation with the ‘fine fuels,’” MNR fire information officer Deb MacLean said Thursday morning.
“They’re very dry and any kind of ignition, any spark, could turn into a fire,” she stressed.
MacLean noted with much of the vegetation on the ground still very dry, a regular campfire could be the source of full-blown forest fire if a gust of wind blew a single spark into dry grass.
She added the public should exercise caution with any fires when outdoors, and make sure they have burning permits where applicable.
Unauthorized burning is being monitored for enforcement among both residents, visitors, and the forestry industry, she said. In a most recent case, a culprit in Thunder Bay District could be facing charges for lighting a slash pile on fire.
MacLean noted the MNR also has started to fly detection patrols in the east part of the region.
The West Fire Region has had a total of 60 fires since the MNR fire season started April 1, consuming a total of 240.1 hectares.
Fort Frances District has seen a total of six fires since April 1, burning a total of 201.7 hectares, while Dryden District has had seven fires, consuming just 5.7 ha.
There have been 12 fires in Kenora District, burning up 6.7 ha.
Red Lake District has had only one fire, consuming 0.5 ha., Sioux Lookout District has lost 5.5 ha due to 13 fires, and Thunder Bay District has seen a total of eight, consuming 9.7 ha.
With the fire situation so quiet here, Ontario FireRangers from the West Fire Region are being sent elsewhere to help fight blazes.
Just Thursday, five crews from the Kenora, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, and Geraldton districts were sent to Baie Comeau, Que. to assist crews there, said MacLean.
A total of 20 FireRanger crews were dispatched last week to provide firefighting support to the East Fire Region of the province, particularly in the districts of Cochrane, Timmins and Parry Sound.
These crews included firefighters from Fort Frances District.

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