MNR firefighters keeping busy

While Ministry of Natural Resources FireRanger crews battled two blazes in the Fort Frances area over the weekend, they also have been busy elsewhere in Northern Ontario, the MNR reported this morning.
“Locally, we’ve been able to meet the workload with the number of fires,” said MNR fire management supervisor Harrold Boven.
“So, we’ve been able to have staff go out to Red Lake, Thunder Bay, and Geraldton. We’ve been able to meet the needs elsewhere,” he added, noting the most recent call for help is on a 3,000-ha fire in Wawa District of the East Fire Region.
Here in the Fort Frances District, a 0.3-ha lighting-caused fire was reported in the Namakan Lake area yesterday. It had been kept under control as of this morning thanks to one four-person Fire- Ranger crew.
“We anticipate the crew will off that later today,” said Boven.
On Saturday, three FireRanger crews responded to a 10-ha blaze in Quetico Provincial Park, about 25 km southeast of Lac La Croix.
Boven noted that fire originally had been reported last week by U.S. tourists, but MNR spotters were unable to see the blaze during a fly-by after it was doused with some rain.
“It was smoldering and it popped up again Saturday,” Boven remarked, adding the fire currently is listed as “being held.”^There currently are 17 fires burning in the West Fire Region, including one in the Fort Frances District, 11 in Nipigon District, three in Red Lake District, and two in Sioux Lookout District.
Nineteen new fires started over the weekend—most of which were lightning-caused and in the Nipigon District, MNR fire information officer Deb McLean said.
Five of these were declared “out” as of this morning, she added.
In Fort Frances District, the fire hazard index currently is mixed— ranging from moderate to extreme in different areas, said Boven, with drier areas being in the eastern part of the region (Thunder Bay and Nipigon).
McLean warned recent brief periods of rain should not lull people into thinking the potential for forest fires is over, stressing caution should be maintained.
She added while spring may be over, with its potential for rampant grassfires after the winter months, there is plenty of dead and dying trees in otherwise green forests that could be source of trouble during the summer.
“And we’ve noticed fires have been travelling deep into the ground, disappearing and popping up in another location,” McLean noted. “There’s certainly underlying dry conditions.”^The Fort Frances District has seen a total of 30 blazes since the fire season began April 1. There has been a total of 278 in the West Fire Region, consuming 1,250.9 ha in total.