MNR fire crews keeping busy here

Ministry of Natural Resources’ FireRanger crews from Fort Frances are having a hard time keeping up with multiple forest fire starts.
Ten to 15 small fires were detected each day over the weekend and extinguished. Fire crews, in some cases, no sooner were finished working on one fire when they were dispatched to another in the same day.
Some fires had to be put on hold by aerial waterbombing until crews could get to them.
“The present fire situation Fort Frances District is extremely serious,” said local forest fire management supervisor Harrold Boven. “The number and distribution of fires is taxing the limits of our FireRanger crews and equipment.
“The weather forecast for the next week does not look like it will help us out at all,” he added. “We urge the public to use extreme caution in the bush.”
A fire near Off Lake on Friday was the largest blaze, and is being held at 26 hectares in size. Most other fires have been kept to a small size in the Mine Centre, Atikokan, and Quetico Park areas.
Fifteen fires currently are burning in Quetico Park, including four prescribed blazes which are being monitored.
After a high of more than 45 new fires over the weekend, the number has been reduced to 16 active fires by the hard work of fire crews.
District support staff is assisting the fire program during this extremely serious fire situation.
Below normal levels of rainfall this summer has resulted in severe drought conditions in the district.
In related news, the Restricted Fire Zone remains in effect, restricting all open burning until conditions improve. Aerial enforcement patrols are being conducted to ensure compliance.
The public is advised that penalties—including fines up to $1,000, up to three months in jail, and recovery of costs—may be imposed for contraventions of the Forest Fire Protection Act.
The Fort Frances office has set up an information line for inquiries at 274-8628.

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