SUDBURY -- The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) confirms rain over the past few days has helped lower the fire hazard in the northeast region.

Still the MNRF is keeping a close eye on the forecast and possibility of more lightning caused fires.

Right now there are nine active fires in various stages of control across the region.

"We have had quite a number of lightning strikes across the province over the last few weeks. We are seeing some new starts as a result of lightning, and we are keeping an eye for that as well as we continue to see more thunderstorms as a possibility in the forecast over the next couple of days," said Isabelle Chenard a fire information officer with the MNRF.                        

Aerial crews from Manitoba arrived earlier this week to help fight forest fires in the northeast but some have now returned home, with others being deployed to northwestern Ontario.

"Ontario participates in mutual aid resource sharing agreements with our provincial, federal and international partners. This is done through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre in Winnipeg.

They broker the movement of personnel and equipment resources, when it's needed either domestically or internationally," said Isabelle Chenard                      

The MNRF is reminding people to follow the rules for safe outdoor burning.

"If you are burning brush or debris you can't start your fire until two hours before sunset and you have to put it out at the latest two hours after sunrise," said Isabelle Chenard.

The MNRF confirms the cause of every forest fire is investigated.

If someone is responsible for starting a one, they can be held responsible for the full-cost of fire suppression efforts.