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No new fires reported over weekend

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It was a quiet weekend for Ministry of Natural Resources firefighters, with no new fires reported in the West Fire Region.

The forest fire hazard currently is listed as “low” to “moderate” across Northwestern Ontario.

There currently are 13 active fires in the northern part of the region, including five in Nipigon District, seven in Sioux Lookout District, and one in Red Lake District.

The most recent of these was Nipigon Fire #53, a lightning-caused blaze first reported Thursday.

In other news, Kip Miller, a fire operations supervisor from the Thunder Bay Fire Management Headquarters, had the pleasure of presenting the Saganaga Ontario Association of Resort and Property Owners (SOARPO) with a Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact award on July 3.

The group has been recognized for leadership in promoting wildfire prevention, as well as developing and implementing fire safety initiatives into “FireSmart” community planning.

Saganaga Lake is located along the Ontario and Minnesota border about 100 km southwest of Thunder Bay.

The SOARPO association represents the owners of 59 developed properties situated on the islands and lakeshore of Saganaga Lake.

In the aftermath of a large fire that occurred along the Ontario/Minnesota border in 2007, SOARPO members approached the Thunder Bay Fire Management Headquarters for ideas on how to protect their properties from the threat of wildfire.

SOARPO has established important relationships with the MNR, the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

As result of the association’s successful campaign to promote fire safety amongst its members, Saganaga Lake property owners have taken a keen interest in community fire prevention and education, and have implemented a variety of measures to protect their homes and values from damage and destruction due to forest fires.

Some of the fire prevention initiatives SOARPO has been involved in include:

•initiating “FireSmart” concepts such as homeowner site hazard assessments;

•using a Global Positioning System to map structural values;

•distributing fire number signs;

•establishing a sprinkler brigade that will follow incident command procedures;

•purchasing an emergency radio that can be used to communicate on Minnesota DNR frequencies, and

•installing several values protection sprinkler systems throughout the community.

Efforts are ongoing to have all property owners in the community complete a home and hazard assessment for their properties to increase awareness of fire hazards and reduce the overall risk of wildfire.

Visit ontario.ca/fireprevention for more information on how to prevent forest fires.

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