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Fire hazard ‘low’

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The forest fire hazard for Northwestern Ontario remains “low,” but there has been some recent fire activity.

Yesterday afternoon, Dryden Fire Management Headquarters dispatched a FireRanger crew to another railway fire east of Vermilion Bay.

This will be Dryden District Fire #2 and the third fire for the Northwest Region so far this year.

Only one fire was reported between April 26-28. Kenora District Fire #1 was a 0.1-hectare, human-caused grass fire at Grassy Narrows First Nation.

It was extinguished by the Grassy Narrows Fire Department.

Seasonable spring weather over the weekend certainly helped to weaken the snow pack, especially along highways and railway tracks, which are now an area of concern for new fire starts.

Many water bodies and wetlands remain frozen and inaccessible to aircraft or FireRanger crews to draw water from.

Spring is the time of year when residents want to get outside and clean up their properties from the effects of winter. Every year, however, residents burning grass or

debris ignite wildfires.

In the spring, cured grass dries quickly, ignites easily, and can spread out of control quickly. These fires cause property damage and cost money to extinguish.

If you light it, you are responsible for it. This means if you light a fire and that fire turns into a wildfire, you can be held responsible for the associated costs of putting it out.

This can range into the thousands of dollars.

Instead of burning, you can mow and compost grass, and chip and compost brush, or use it as mulch.

But if you must burn, don’t burn when it is windy, light your fire two hours before sunset or later, burn a safe distance from anything that could catch fire, and always keep your fire small and stay with it until it is dead out.

For more information about the safe burning guidelines in Ontario, contact your local MNR fire office or your fire department.

Forest fires can be reported by calling 310-FIRE (3473).

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