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More firefighters return from B.C.

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A total of 155 Ontario personnel were scheduled to return from British Columbia today, bringing the resource level of Ontario FireRangers and support personnel still there to 306.

Meanwhile, a planned dispatch of an Incident Management Team and firefighting support personnel has been postponed as B.C. assesses the fire situation.

Some areas have received rain and the outlook is improving, but there is still fire activity in areas that received little or no rain so the possibility remains that additional Ontario resources will be deployed there.

No new fires were reported in the West Fire Region yesterday, and there are no active fires in the region at this time.

In related news, Red Lake fire personnel are assisting in sandbagging efforts as water levels there rise, flooding some areas.

Additional sandbags are being provided for this effort by the Ministry of Natural Resources’ forest fire management logistics section.

The weather forecast is calling for continued rain and below-normal temperatures.

Although some clearing and a mix of sun and cloud is expected mid-week, this is to be followed again by heavy rain and cooler temperatures.

So far this season, there’s been a total of 173 fires burning an area of about 13,930.5 hectares.

By comparison, as of Aug. 17, 2008, there had been a total of 128 fires burning just 367.4 ha.

The 10-year annual average for the number of fires and hectares burned in the West Fire Region (April 1-Oct. 31) is 639 fires and 104,719 ha.

In other news, the MNR’s Aviation and Forest Fire Management Branch has launched an interactive forest fire hazard map that is viewable at ontario.ca/forestfire

This map makes use of daily weather information and the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System to establish the forest fire hazard in each district inside Ontario’s fire regions.

The forest fire hazard then is shown in an easy-to-understand colour map.

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