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No forest fires burning

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No new fires were reported in the West Fire Region over the weekend.

Currently, there are no active forest fires anywhere in Ontario. Thunder Bay Fire #62 was declared out last Monday (Sept. 13).

To date, there have been 352 fires, consuming 9,598.2 hectares, in the West Fire Region.

At this time last year, there had been 174 fires burning 13,479 ha.

Although this has been a more active fire season so far compared to 2009 in terms of number of fires, the five-year average for the West Fire Region is 626 fires and 45,311 ha burned.

This means the 2010 season is below a regional average for both numbers of fires and hectares lost.

Despite the cooler weather and low forest fire hazard, the Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program is urging the public to remain “FireSmart.”

As a reminder for those using outdoor fires for cooking and warmth during hunting and recreational activities, remember that all fires must be kept small and built on mineral soil away from overhanging branches.

They are to be attended at all times, and put dead out before leaving the site.

For residents planning to do brush or grass burning for fall clean-up, they are reminded that day burning is prohibited.

Such fires may be started no sooner than two hours before sunset and must be out no later than two hours after sunrise.

As the summer comes to a close, most seasonal firefighter contracts are ending, with a number of FireRangers returning to colleges and universities.

Remaining fire staff are doing base maintenance and winterizing of fire attack bases.

Meanwhile, caches of equipment that are stored in the far north during the summer now are being retrieved for over-winter warehousing in northern districts.

Always practice fire safety with your campfires and shore lunches.

Report forest fires by calling toll-free 310-FIRE (3473).

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