Although currently under control, the Ministry of Natural Resources warns the fire situation could still heat up this year. MNR information officer Ben Legouffe warns that almost 15,000 lightening strikes last week could cause a rash of fires to pop up. “We don’t have much happening in the Timmins area at the moment,” said Legouffe. “We’ve been blessed in a way. We’ve had enough rain, but things might heat up, it depends on how much it dries here.” Despite the good fortune the region has had thus far, the MNR has contracted planes to fly over problem areas every day. “We have ministry staff onboard who are experienced looking for fires. It’s very hard sometimes to differentiate between dust coming off the road and smoke,” he said. So far this year Legouffe said the MNR tactics of keeping fires small, putting them out quick and getting crews back to base to await the next one has worked. Nature made fires arent the only way forest fires can spark, however. Blueberry season is underway and for berry pickers, Legouffe said smokers should butt out in gravel areas to avoid problems With the August long weekend on the horizon, Legouffe reminds anglers and campers to light campfires with caution. Campfires should be built on sand or gravel, not peat moss or black muck. Fire pits should be no more than a metre wide and flames shouldn’t excede a metre. Before starting a fire, Legouffe said people should be aware of all the surroundings as a hanging branch can spark up easily as well. He said its also a good idea to have tools around such as a bucket of water or a shovel. No fire should be left unattended and when its time to put it out the ashes should be completely doused. “My rule of thumb is if you can put your hand in there, move it all around and feel no heat, then it’s out,” said Legouffe. To report a fire call the MNR at 1-888-863-3473.