Wildfires expected to flare up

With an estimated 24,000 lightning strikes recorded across Northwestern Ontario over the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Natural Resources is expecting to see up to five wildfires flare up by the end of the day (Monday).
“The potential for at least a few of those strikes to become fires is definitely there,” MNR fire information officer Travis Moffatt said Monday morning.
The MNR is predicting, based on the combination of the stormy weather and the “high” fire hazard, that there will be three-five lightning-caused fires and one-two human-caused ones reported in the next 24 hours.
Moffatt stressed the rain parts of the region received Sunday and overnight was “patchy” and that there’s still many areas of dead grass that could develop into wildfires with ease.
He recommended recreationists spending time outdoors be extremely cautious and keep their campfires small.
Meanwhile, the MNR had to respond to several fires in the Northwest Region over the weekend.
The most recent was a fire in Nipigon District on Monday morning. Two FireRanger crews were dispatched at 5 a.m. to tackle the two-hectare blaze, the cause of which is still under investigation.
As well, two new fires were reported Sunday in Nipigon District. Both were located at Marten Falls, about 220 km northeast of Geraldton, and are still considered “active” by the MNR.
Nipigon District also reported a small fire along the railway on Saturday but it since has been declared “out.”
Nipigon District is the only area in the region with active fires. It has seen 20 fires in total so far this year, consuming more than 20 ha.
In related news, Dryden District had one new fire Friday when industrial forest machinery accidentally ignited a blaze. MNR crews responded with ground and air attack.
It is now out.
Dryden District has had eight fires so far this season, consuming 5.8 ha in all.
Moffatt noted the MNR also received some calls over the weekend from people along the Canada-U.S. border between Atikokan and Thunder Bay, when the smell of smoke from a prescribed burn south of Grand Marais, Mn. drifted north.
The prescribed burn is expected to remain active until at least Wednesday.
The West Fire Region has seen a total of 68 fires since the MNR fire season started April 1, consuming a total of 56.5 ha.
Fort Frances District has seen a total of five fires since April 1, burning a total of 8.6 ha., while there have been 12 fires in Kenora District, burning up 6.7 ha.
Red Lake District has had only one fire so far, consuming 0.5 ha., Sioux Lookout District has lost 5.5 ha. due to 13 fires, and Thunder Bay District has seen a total of eight, consuming 9.8 ha.
To report a forest fire in Northwestern Ontario, call 1-888-284-3473.

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