Forest fire hazard ‘high’

The fire situation has quickly heated up for local Ministry of Natural Resources firefighters as dry conditions and lightning have started a rash of blazes in the district.
“Currently, we have three active fires. They were a result of recent lightning,” fire management supervisor Matt Myers said Tuesday morning.
“We already attacked one last night, and responded to two more this morning,” he added. “When you get two fires before 10 a.m., just wait until 3 p.m.”
The first fire started near Atikokan while the other two are burning south of Vista Lake and in the Turtle Road area. Myers noted these fires should be “under control” by Tuesday afternoon.
But with the fire hazard now “high,” he said it’s likely crews will be busy elsewhere today.
“We expect three to 10 lightning-caused fires, and one-three man-caused fires today,” he said, stressing people should be wary of starting any fires in such dry conditions.
“We want to keep those to a minimum because we’re going to be responding to all those other fires, and we have to balance out our resources,” he remarked.
Along with the 12 four-person crews, two Twin Otters at Atikokan airport, a helicopter at Baudette, and two helicopters at Quetico stand ready.
“We’ll probably also gets crews from Dryden to beef us up a bit,” said Myers. “We’re well-positioned for the day. It’s probably going to be a numbers game.
“If there’s anything I want to say to people out there, it’s ‘don’t be fooled by the rain.’ It’s very spotty and there’s some very dry pockets,” he added.
In related news, Myers will be featured on the CBC television show, “Witness,” which airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Channel 7 here.
“Around here, we’re pretty proud of our contribution to fire-fighting efforts to other places. This documentary focuses on our contribution to the Montana fire we went to last year,” he noted.
Myers added the program discusses the relationship between fire-fighting techniques and how they impact forest conditions.