Mother Nature helps ease fire danger

Cooler, wet weather of late has helped ease fears of another bad season for forest fires that were prevalent earlier this spring but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be cautious.
“The fire hazard rating is on the edge of moderate,” note Debbie MacLean, fire information officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Dryden.
“All it would take is a sunny/breezy day to spread things quickly,” she warned.
“As we head into mid-spring, the weather has been cool but dry, then wet and cool, also the spring growth has begun. Fire doesn’t burn as well or as quickly through new spring growth,” noted MacLean.
“All of those factors have brought the rating down to low-moderate.”
And that’s meant good news for firefighters. There have been just 81 fires in the West Fire Region to date, including nine in Fort Frances District–well down from the 188 reported by this time last year.
On the down side, all 81 fires so far this year have been human-caused (in this region, 30 percent of fires are caused by humans and 70 percent by lightning).
“Even though the numbers may not tell the whole story, we look at each fire as a significant event. We never want to give the impression a fire is simple,” she noted.
MacLean also stressed the importance of not letting your guard down when the fire hazard rating is wavering between low-moderate. “People aren’t quite as careful when the rating is low and this is the time to be extra careful,” she remarked.
MacLean said it’s still early in the year and the weather is mixed, adding a jump in wind velocity could dry things out again. “If it is windy . . . don’t burn,” she stressed.
“[And people] should never leave a fire unattended,” she added. “Always have sufficient tools on hand to control fires and the cardinal rule–make sure the fire is out.”