Canada — A busy forest fire season is drawing to a close with minimal lossesdespite a record dry summer in many parts of Manitoba, Conservation MinisterStan Struthers said today.
“Hard working forest firefighters, strategic planning and the use oftechnology to predict and track forest fires have kept losses of valuable timberto a minimum,” said Struthers who, as well as the premier, toured activefires this summer. “Our thanks goes out those firefighters who put theirlives on the line and the staff who worked to protect our valuable forestresources.”
Manitoba experienced 679 fires, 256 human caused and 423 lightning caused,with approximately 165,000 hectares destroyed. Manitoba’s long-term average is544 fires and 432,000 hectares per year. The worst fire season was 1989 when1,226 fires burned 3,567,947 hectares.
Above-normal spring temperatures with below-normal precipitation causedextreme, volatile burning conditions. The fire season began April 1 with ahuman-caused fire in the eastern region. The first lightning fire erupted May 11in the same region. Travel and burning restrictions were imposed for areas ofthe eastern and Interlake regions from mid-July to early-August.
Manitoba’s airborne firefighting fleet of CL 215 water bombers receivedassistance from Ontario and the Northwest Territories. As well, localsingle-engine air tankers were also deployed throughout the season as needed.The water bombers were posted for community protection, new fire starts andsustained fire action. Fire crews were also brought in from Nova Scotia andOntario to supplement busy Manitoba crews. Manitoba also provided someassistance to Ontario and Saskatchewan.
The minister noted the province was able to make improvements to technologysuch as a new weather station in eastern Manitoba and the updating of fourexisting weather stations with satellite technology.