MNR fire season underway


The Ministry of Natural Resources’ fire season officially began Sunday (April 1), and the first new fire of the 2012 season was reported today in the Thunder Bay area.
The one hectare, human-caused blaze is classified as “under control.”
But between January and the end of March, there already had been more than a dozen blazes, including one in Fort Frances District, five in Dryden District, six in Kenora District, and one in Nipigon District, Northwest Region fire information officer Debbie MacLean said Tuesday.
Fort Frances District #1—a 0.1-hectare blaze—was first reported March 27.
The fire, which is suspected to have been caused by lightning, is located about 60 km northeast of Fort Frances, a few kilometres east of Highway 502.
It is classified as “being observed,” but it’s likely to soon be declared “out.”
All of the others fires were mainly grass fires, with the earliest reported in January on an island in the Kenora area.
Most of the rest occurred during the unusually hot and dry period in early to mid-March.
“Then it got snowy and rainy, and that helped alleviate concerns at that moment, the rising hazard,” noted MacLean.
“However, in anticipation to that early start and in response to that early start, we did bring firefighters on a little bit early in each district in the region.”
MacLean said as April continues, more crew members will be brought on, adding the MNR will have a complete complement of firefighters on staff by the end of the month.
And with fire season officially underway, that means the Forest Fire Prevention Act is in effect and burning during the day is prohibited.
Anyone who wants to do any burning at all should contact their local MNR office.
In related news, since late last week, various district municipalities have lifted their temporary burning bans, including Fort Frances, Alberton, Chapple, and Emo.

These restrictions were put in place during the dry spell a few weeks ago.