Fighting forest fires can come with a big price tag for Ontario Muni.

May 6, 2015

By: TB News Watch

The municipality of Oliver Paipoonge could on the hook for a bill totalling more than $10,000 to fight Monday’s brush blaze in Stanley.

Oliver Paipoonge Fire and Emergency Services chief Mike Horan last year submitted an article to the Oliver Paipoonge News outlining the costs of the Ministry of Natural Resources fire rangers to battle a forest fire, including $2,900 per hour for water bombers.

In the article, which was published in March 2014, Horan wrote the ministry charges a $2,900 dispatch fee for a waterbomber as well as the hourly rate.

At least one water bomber was deployed for about two hours, making repeated trips from the scene to Lake Superior to fill up.
Horan also wrote there was a minimum charge of $600 or $175 per hour for MNR ground firefighters.

MNR fire information officer Jonathan Scott said four crews responded, with firefighters on scene Tuesday morning extinguishing any remaining hot spots.

It is not immediately known how many ministry ground firefighters have been deployed.

The ministry on Monday night also deployed a birddog aircraft to constantly flyover and survey the scene to advise how to attack the blaze, as well as a helicopter afterwards to search for areas still burning.

Oliver Paipoonge chief administrative officer Peggy Dupuis on Tuesday confirmed the municipality has an agreement with the MNR to pay for forest firefighting assistance. She did not have information available to provide more specific details of the costs.

Fire crews were alerted to the blaze at about 5:30 p.m. Monday night, which burned about 20 hectares in a wooded area behind Pebblestone Road off Highway 11/17. Crews from Oliver Paipoonge and Conmee responded along with the ministry.

The fire was said to have come within 200 feet of the Stanley Hill Cemetery, as well as 100 to 150 metres of the four or five nearby homes on Pebblestone Road.

Despite the proximity, the fire did not destroy any values and there are no injuries.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen well within Thunder Bay city limits.

An investigation into the cause of the fire began earlier Tuesday.

If the investigation determines the fire to be human caused, the person responsible could be billed or fined if charges are laid under municipal bylaw.

By: TB News Watch

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