Wildfires in Ontario triple in one year

Published On June 17, 2021 | By Shifa Naseer | News
Fire crews are mounting a significant response to a number of forest fires located near Nipigon. The number of active forest fires in Ontario has risen this year. Photo credit: Courtesy Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Ontario

Wildfires in Ontario have gone up as high as 345 so far this year, three times the number compared to last year when 140 fires were reported.

Currently, more than 25 wildfires are raging across the Northwest region of Ontario with three fires of note located in Nipigon 7, Nipigon 8, and Thunder Bay 36.

Nipigon 7, which is spread across 2,410 hectares, is not under control. A total of 18 crews are presently battling this fire, located approximately 45 km east and northeast of Nipigon.

Further, there was one new fire confirmed in the Northwest region on Tuesday, June 15.

“We’ve had more fires than the 10-year average, but fewer hectares have burned this year,” said Jonathan Scott, Fire Information Officer for Northwest region of Ontario. “If you also look at some statistics around hectares burnt, this year we are at 23,666 hectares while last year we were at 375,000 hectares burnt.”

At the time of writing, there were 27 active fires in the region, according to the Ministry Of Natural Resources and Forestry’s website.

Three fires are not under control, 11 are being observed, seven fires are being held and six fires are under control.

A screenshot of an interactive map showing perimeters for some fires over 40 hectares in size in Ontario.
A screenshot of an interactive map showing perimeters for some fires over 40 hectares in size in Ontario. Photo credit: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Fire crews are mounting a significant response to a number of forest fires located near Nipigon.

The wildland fire hazard caused by human activities has been mainly moderate with areas of high hazard levels in all districts except Dryden, west of Thunder Bay.

There are currently 79 forest firefighters and two overhead staff from Alberta, as well as 20 forest firefighters and one overhead (supervisory) staff member from British Columbia working alongside FireRangers in the Northwest region.

“They’ve been deployed to fires in Thunder Bay and Nipigon districts so they’re helping out there,” Scott said. “They’ve been a great help.”

Scott said that lightning followed by inadequate precipitation was one of the causes which led to more wildfires in the past several weeks.

“We’ve had lightning come through the province, and that started fires,” Scott said. “Basically, across the landscape, we’ve had a good amount in the Northwest region, and some in the Northeast region as well.”

An Implementation Order that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands is now in effect.

An Implementation Order is in effect that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands in Nipigon.
An Implementation Order is in effect that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands in Nipigon. Photo credit: Nipigon District Ministry Of Natural Resources and Forestry

All travel, use, and access to the affected areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Nipigon District Ministry Of Natural Resources and Forestry.

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