Published: May 17, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
The 2017 forest fire season has started out slowly in the Red Lake district with only one fire on the books six weeks in.
Ministry of Natural Resources officials confirmed earlier this week RED 001 was recorded after a human caused fire was located on Apr. 22 approximately three kilometres from Pikangikum. The fire was confirmed out as of May 4 after snow blanketed the region at the end of April. The fire only reached three hectares in size.
Information Officer Debbie MacLean confirmed on May 15 the region had experienced 40 fires consuming approximately 30 hectares. Across the province 52 fires have been registered, a significantly lower amount than 2016 which saw 125 fires in the same reporting period. At the time 76,000 hectares was burned.
Earlier this week the fire hazard was marked moderate to high in the western part of the region. MacLean says MNR is monitoring weather systems that would reportedly be bringing rain but also thunder storms.
“It is really going to depend completely on how much rain comes with the lightning.”
She notes it is too soon to predict what the fire hazard will be over the upcoming long weekend and warns spring like conditions are dangerous.
“If you have a source of ignition like a camp fire or someone is deciding to do some cleanup around their rural residents…they have to be aware that that fire can spread quickly…there is dead grass and vegetation from the winter and it hasn’t had a chance to green up which makes it a little less flammable so we really stress at this time of year that human caused fires are the main cause of fires and often it is a result of people not properly attending their outdoor fires.”