Wildfire season underway in northern Ontario
SUDBURY -- While northerners await the end of COVID-19 restrictions and the start of camping season, wildfire season is already well underway.
As of Wednesday, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reported three active fires in the northeast region, with all three under control.
"So far this season we've seen a total of 109 fires across the province and if we compare that to last year at this time, we had 63 fires," said fire information officer Shayne McCool. "Our 10-year average for this point in time is 122 fires, so we're seeing more fires than we did last year, but we're still under the 10-year average."
McCool said they've been seeing some dry or extreme-rated regions in the central and southern parts of the region (near Sudbury and Nipissing) and they're monitoring those very closely.
"We'll be monitoring the weather conditions as we get closer to the weekend, as we always do, just to plan for any forecasted precipitation or thunderstorms that might be coming our way," he said.
"There is precipitation in the forecast that could help reduce our fire hazard across the region but we'll be monitoring those conditions as they arise."
According to the MNRF, fire crews are more apt to see fires caused by people this time of year than those caused by lightning.
His best advice? If you plan on having a fire this weekend, always be prepared and have a shovel or water on standby to put it out.
"Always make sure you're tending to the fire when it is lit and never leaving the area and always making sure that you have a responsible person in charge of that fire," said McCool.
Northeast fire crews have already been dispatched to help those in northwest Ontario who are dealing with more active fires.
Peter Kimbell, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist, said it's hard to say what kind of season we may be in for at this stage.
"And this month many areas have seen about 50 per cent of normal rainfall, even less in some areas, some areas were 75 per cent less than normal," he said.
For more information on fire activity in the region, check out the province's official website here.