THUNDER BAY – WILDFIRE UPDATE – With all the snow on the ground, and rain in the forecast, it is not too early to talk about the 2022 Wild Fire Season.
There snowfall in the region could, depending on the speed of the melt be beneficial in the early season in terms of keeping the wildfire hazard low.
Last year in Ontario there were 1,198 wildland fires – with approximately 793,325 hectares of forests burned. This number includes a 200,000-hectare fire, the largest since the province started keeping statistics in 1960; each year about half of all wildland fires are caused by people
The Ontario government is ready to respond to this year’s woodlands fire season, which runs from April 1 until October 31.
“There is nothing more important than protecting the safety of people and communities across the province, including our staff,” states Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Last year’s wildland fire season was exceptionally busy, and while we don’t know what this season will bring, we know we can rely on our fire rangers, pilots and support staff to battle any wildland fires and protect Ontarians.”
Ontario’s resources to fight wildland fires include:
- Up to 800 fire rangers – with the ability to bring in more as needed – and a support staff of more than 500
- A fleet of specialized aircraft used to suppress wildland fires and transport staff across the province, including nine water bombers, six twin otters, five turbo beavers and eight helicopters used for fire suppression and to move crews and equipment
- Fourteen fire management headquarters, two regional bases and one provincial co-ordination facility.
The province is closely monitoring weather conditions to detect fires early and to avoid large, complex fires, especially near communities and critical infrastructure.
Ontario works to fight wildland fires, protect communities, and maintain public safety in cooperation with community leaders and other agencies. Participation in agreements with provincial, federal, and international partners also allows for the sharing of personnel, equipment, and aircraft between agencies during periods of escalated wildland fire activity.
Those enjoying the outdoors are reminded to ensure that campfires do not get too big and are fully extinguished at the end of the evening. Taking simple preventative measures is the simplest way to reduce the risk of fires getting out of hand.