Canada — Ontario’s 2008 forest fire season was the slowest on record in the province for the past 50 years for both the numbers of fire and the area burned.
The Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation and Forest Fire Management unit reports that there were 329 fires in Ontario between April 1, 2008 and Oct. 31, 2008.
About 1,313 hectares were burned during that year.
The 2008 fire operational spending is about $85 million.
Ontario crews were also deployed to western provinces to assist in their fire suppression operations.
Specifically, the eastern fire region, of which Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma is part of, reported 111 fires that burned just over 98 hectares of forest.
The MNR noted that the season also confirmed that there are massive areas of forests damaged by past weather events and insect infestations that will pose a fire management challenge in the coming years.
On average, fire management spends $119 million per year in Ontario.
Statistics show that every year is different as a result of variability in fire occurrence and fire behaviour.
Fire operating expenditures have ranged from $65 to $175 annually over the past 10 years.
The year also saw the return of the MNR’s aviation services returning to the Canadian International Air Show during the Labour Day weekend.
Two water bombers and a helicopter provided water bombing demonstrations to show southern Ontario residents the capabilities of the provincial aircraft and crews.
The crews also spent time training, assisting with flood relief, storm clean up and helping Ontario Parks with various tasks.