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Crews busy with rash of grass fires

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Ten new fires were confirmed in Northwestern Ontario over the weekend.

The forest fire hazard has been “low to moderate” for the Northwest Region, but it easily can climb into the “high” range with just one afternoon of sunny skies and high winds.

Grass fuels continue to be very dry across the region.

Every year, grass fires prove to be damaging to property, structures, and all communities. The grass fires this past weekend were no exception.

Fort Frances District responded to a blaze in the vicinity of Northwest Bay First Nation.

FireRangers who were near Hope Lake for spring training noticed the initial smoke and reported it back to the Fort Frances Fire Management Headquarters.

This fire—the third for Fort Frances District this season—is now out at just 0.2 ha in size.

Kenora District responded to three fires in and around Wabaseemong First Nation on Saturday.

Kenora Fires #23, #24, and #25 all were human-caused fires and all have been declared “out.”

Kenora FireRangers then returned to Wabaseemong First Nation yesterday for a new human-caused fire.

Kenora Fire #27 currently is being actioned by a FireRanger crew, as well as receiving aerial suppression from a helicopter equipped with a belly tank.

The belly tank allows that helicopter to pick up water from a pond or other water source and drop it on the fire.

Kenora also responded to a blaze at Grassy Narrows First Nation yesterday after a grass fire quickly spread and damaged a structure, as well as threatened a second one.

The Grassy Narrows Fire Department also responded to these fires and reports that the fire is under control now.

This fire was confirmed as Kenora Fire #28.

Meanwhile, Dryden District dispatched a FireRanger crew and the wildfire engine, along with an Incident Commander Level 3, to a fire located on Stevenson Road west of Oxdrift.

A joint response to this fire occurred by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Oxdrift Fire Department, and the City of Dryden Fire Department.

The FireRanger crew is extinguishing any portions of the fire that may spread into the brush surrounding the property.

There were three outbuildings and a barn that had caught on fire in this incident.

Thunder Bay District, meanwhile, confirmed its first fire of the year Friday.

This fire resulted from a lightning strike to a chicot and was reported by people working in the area south of Garden Lake.

A chicot is any standing, dry, dead tree or part of a dead tree from which at least small branches have fallen (a chicot also is known as a snag).

The fire was extinguished with no problems encountered.

It’s important to note that Thunder Bay Fire #1 is the first official lightning-caused fire for all of Ontario this year.

All other fires have been human-caused this year.

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