Fire hazard creeping up

There were no new fires in Northwestern Ontario again yesterday but the fire hazard is rising—jumping to “moderate to high” in the western portions of the region and “moderate” in the east.
“Even with the recent cooler, damper weather, the fact the fire hazard is starting to creep back up again as soon as we get a little nice weather is an indication that it is still dry out there,” MNR fire information officer Deb MacLean said.
“There’s definitely the possibility of more fires. An outdoor fire, like a campfire or someone with a brush or grass fire that’s not properly attended, could easily turn into a forest fire or wildfire,” she warned.
“We’re basically urging people to continue being cautious, and reminding people that there’s still conditions under the Forest Fire Prevention Act,” MacLean added.
Until the end of the MNR fire season (Oct. 31), brush and grass fires are to be started no sooner than two hours before sunset and put out no later than two hours after sunrise.
Fort Frances District declared 12 fires out on Wednesday, leaving 12 active fires in Quetico Park. The district has seen a total of 188 fires since the MNR fire season began April 1, consuming 2,543.7 hectares.
Winterizing of forward attack bases continue in the rest of the districts in the region, with some already nearing completion or already done.
Meanwhile, mop-up operations continue on many active fires in the Thunder Bay and Nipigon districts, including “rehabilitation” of fire line locations. This phase of fire management usually begins once a fire is declared “under control.”
The focus of the rehabilitation effort is to minimize soil erosion and prevent access to resource values.
Effective and timely rehabilitation on fire lines helps lessen current and future environmental impacts such as soil erosion, water quality deterioration, and loss of habitat.
This work is expected to be completed over the next two weeks and includes stabilizing water crossings, and pushing back dirt and debris on constructed fire lines.
These techniques have proven effective over the past several years, and the sites will be monitored over the next couple of years to ensure rehabilitation of the sites has succeeded.
These rehabilitation efforts are being done jointly by fire personnel, district MNR personnel, and forest industry staff.
In related news, firefighter safety remains a top priority in the Thunder Bay and Nipigon districts as big game hunting season is about to begin in the region.
People are urged to use care and caution when driving along roadways or hunting in areas where fire personnel are still working.