By: Chronicle Journal
Moderate and heavy rainfall across much of Northwestern Ontario over the past few days has allowed provincial crews to get a better foot-hold against the region’s seven active forest fires, the province said Monday.
“Rain by itself isn’t enough to put out a fire, but it does give our crews an advantage because they can set out hose lines and stop it from spreading,” said Dryden-based fire information officer Debbie MacLean.
Of the seven fires still burning in the region, the largest remains Red Lake Fire No. 3, which is burning mostly inside Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.
That fire, which is also burning inside Manitoba, is currently pegged at about 86,000 hectares, about one-sixth the size of the massive fire burning near Fort McMurray.
Most of the Red Lake blaze — about 75,000 hectares — is burning on the Ontario side of the border.
A much smaller fire, Nipigon No. 14, which last week came close to burning Greenstone’s town hall, is under control and pegged at about 14 hectares, said MacLean.
That fire was human caused and remains under investigation, she said. No details were being released Monday.
MacLean said none of the fires in the Northwest are threatening any communities.
The region-wide ban on camp fires was being reviewed Monday in the wake of the rainfall across the region, MacLean added.
The ban went into effect during the first week of this month. MacLean said that provincial officers have laid several charges against those who have violated the current fire ban, even when conditions were extremely dry.
The province must be confident that it is in a position to combat any new forest fires before it lifts a fire ban, said MacLean.
About 90 Ontario firefighters and support staff remain in Alberta assisting fire-fighting efforts in that province.
Eventually, when it’s safe to do, ground crews wade into the middle of burned areas to dig up and put out hot spots.
Thunder Bay and outlying areas are expected to get more rain today.