May 18, 2018 – Forest Fire Situation Update – Northwest Region

Forest Fire Update

Forest Fire Update 

Regional Fire Situation – May 18, 2018

Wet weather may have tempered the forest fire hazard in parts of the Northwest Region, although a Restricted Fire Zone remains in effect for the region heading into the Victoria Day long weekend.

There was one new fire in the Northwest Region by the afternoon of May 18. The short-lived 0.1-hectare grass fire, located north of the city of Thunder Bay, has been put out.

Rains over Thursday night helped FireRanger crews get the upper hand on a few remaining lightning-caused fires which emerged in the northern part of the Kenora District earlier in the week.

The fire hazard throughout the region reflects the rainfall pattern resulting in a low hazard in Kenora and Dryden Districts. Fort Frances District ranges from a low hazard in its eastern reaches to areas of moderate and high hazard ratings moving west. The southern portion of the Thunder Bay district failed to receive significant precipitation overnight resulting in a high to moderate hazard by the afternoon of May 18.

Forest fire officials remind the public that rainfall can have short-lived effects on the forest fire hazard rating particularly in spring when forest fuels dry out quickly. An end to the Restricted Fire Zone would require several days of steady rains.

Restricted Fire Zone still in place for Northwest Region

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) has declared a Restricted Fire Zone in the Districts of Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and the southern portion of the Red Lake, Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout Districts and along the north shore of Lake Superior in the Nipigon District.

During a Restricted Fire Zone, the use of open fires – such as campfires, or burning of brush or debris, is restricted. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to $25,000 and three months in jail, as well as financial responsibility for the costs incurred in fighting a forest fire.

Portable gas or propane stoves are permitted for use for cooking or warmth, though they should be closely monitored. Portable charcoal BBQs and Hibachis are not permitted unless within 100 metres of a dwelling, or within an organized campground.

Commercial campground operators may allow their guests to enjoy campfires during a Restricted Fire Zone period provided they meet certain conditions.

The Restricted Fire Zone is a temporary measure to reduce the number of new human-caused wildfires as the Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services branch of the OMNRF expects the elevated forest fire hazard to continue into the foreseeable future.

To see a complete list of fires across the province click on our interactive map. You can also get the latest update on the condition of any fire by clicking the fire icon.

Fire numbers and online information:

Report prepared by Chris Marchand