Canada — With the Forest Fire Prevention Act set to take effect April 1, thelocal Ministry of Natural Resources is expecting conditions average forspringtimea far cry from this time last year, when far below average snowfallover the winter of 2006-07, coupled with a dry summer and fall in 2006, saw thestage set differently.
Were looking at starting the fire season with normal-type conditions,acting fire management supervisor Harrold Boven said in an interview Friday.
Were not looking at a moisture deficit, he added, noting this past falland winter brought a good amount of rain and snow. According to Environment Canada, Boven said, March, April, and May will seebelow-normal temperatures for the western half of Rainy River District andnormal for the eastern half.
Over the same time period, the entire district is expected to see above-normalprecipitation.
Boven also noted while the snow has melted quickly the past two years, earlyindications show that it will go gradually this spring. While weather conditions always can change, this sets the stage for a slow startto the MNR fire season, which runs until Oct. 31. During fire season, burning is not permitted during daylight hours. Anyonewishing to do any burning must contact their local municipality or the MNR.
According to an end-of-season report issued by the MNR last November, the 2007fire season proved challenging at times, particularly in the spring.
May proved busy as predicted with extreme fire hazard conditions and projectfires, it noted. This picture changed in June when heavy rains hit theregion.
Provincial fire advisories were issued for much of the northwest andFireRanger crews assisted with road washouts in the districts of Kenora, Dryden,Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout.
Dryden District fire staff also provided support to Ignace in storm-damageclean-up after a microburst blasted the community, it continued.
In August, Fort Frances responded to over 60 new fires but despite latesummer drought conditions, fire staff were able to keep the lightning fires tosmall sizes, said the report.
Quetico Provincial Park, in the Fort Frances District, had more prescribedfire activity again in 2007, which allowed for fire in the park as a beneficialaspect of ecosystem renewal.
But the 2007 fire season ended with something of a whimper. There only werethree new fires reported in the region between Sept. 6-13one each in thedistricts of Fort Frances, Kenora, and Sioux Lookout.
By contrast, at one point in September, 2006, there were more than 300 activefires burning in the northwestover 200 of which were classed as not undercontrol.
The Northwest Region saw a total of 481 fires last year, consuming 32,852.5hectares.
Final statistics for the 2006 Northwest Region numbers were 1,716 fires and anarea of 147,615.1 ha burned.
Resources from the Aviation and Forest Fire Management Program in Ontario,including some from Northwest Region, assisted Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba, andthe states of Michigan and Minnesota during the 2007 fire season.