THUNDER BAY – DRYDEN – Ontario FireRangers are ready as April marks the official start of forest fire season in the province. Minister of Natural Resources, Michael Gravelle, toured the Northwest Region Forest Fighting Management Centre in Dryden today to review plans for the season. “Ontario has a skilled and dedicated team of emergency management staff ready to work tirelessly to protect the forests of this beautiful province and the people who live in or near them. I urge everyone who is going to use outdoor fires over the next seven months to manage them with the utmost care,” reported Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources and Thunder Bay Superior North MPP.
On average, more than 1,300 wildfires burn each year across the province, with about half of them set by people. From April through October, people using outdoor fires must follow strict rules to ensure their fires are properly controlled. Anyone who starts a fire outdoors must take all necessary steps to tend the fire, keep it under control, and extinguish the fire before leaving the site. A person failing to burn safely can be held responsible for the cost of putting out the fire (should it spread) and for any property damage.
• The Province has approximately 750 highly-trained FireRangers and a further 320 firefighters available from the private sector to fight forest fires in Ontario.
• The forest firefighting program has $25 million of fire suppression equipment, 14 water bombers, 13 helicopters and 12 fire detection aircraft.
• In 2011, Ontario personnel supported Minnesota, Saskatchewan, Manitoba the Northwest Territories and, most extensively, Alberta.