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Ontario sends 10 northern fire ranger crews to fight wildfires in Manitoba

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With no active wildland fires burning in northern Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry sent 10 crews to Manitoba to help battle the blazes there.

Fire rangers left Dryden by plane on May 14 to help with the situation in the neighbouring province, which has already seen 50 wildfires so far this year --- higher than its 20-year average of 47 annually.

Ontario fire ranger crews head to Manitoba to help fight wildfires. May 14, 2024 (MNRF)

"Each fire ranger crew consists of either four or five people, including a crew boss, a crew leader and two to three crew members," Amy Peltonen, an MNRF spokesperson, told CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca in an email.

"A typical deployment lasts 14 days, at which time it will be determined if they will return home for a rest or if their stay will be extended another five days."

Forty staff total were sent to Manitoba, she said.

When it comes to footing the bill, Peltonen said, "Ontario proudly participates in a mutual aid resource sharing agreement with provincial, territorial and federal partners to share personnel and other resources during periods of escalated wildland fire activity."

Both Ontario and Manitoba are part of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact which includes three U.S. states – Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and provides shared resources to fight wildfires.

Ontario fire ranger crews pack plane in Dryden headed to Manitoba to help fight wildfires. May 14, 2024 (MNRF)

47 out of 50 caused by humans

A majority of this year's wildfires in Manitoba have been caused by humans, Manitoba's Wildfire Service said on Tuesday, while only three have been caused naturally.

Currently, Manitoba has a total of nine active fires, including two in the western part of the province which are considered 'out of control.'

Lightning started one of those 'out of control' fires May 9 near Flin Flon and it has grown to more than 37,000 hectares as of Thursday.

Ontario has put out 48 wildfires to date according to the Ontario Forest Fire Info Map.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre escalated the country's national preparedness level to three Thursday due to the increased wildland fires in Alberta and Manitoba.

"The demand for mobilization of firefighters and equipment from other jurisdictions is moderate," the centre said about Level 3.

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