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'Higher fire behavior' in northwest region sparks 7 new fires near Kenora, Ontario

Jul 30, 2018 06:47PM ● Published by Editor

Looking across the blackened portion of Kenora Fire 71. (Chris Marchand)

From CBC News · July 30, 2018 

In the past 24 hours there's been a "significant increase in the fire load" across northwestern Ontario, according to Chris Marchand, fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"Lightning continues to be the main ignition source for new fires this time of the year," said Marchand.

Fire activity has once again increased on Kenora fire 71, as multiple reports of torching and spotting came in over the weekend which is "indicative of higher fire behaviour."

He said over the weekend, an additional seven new fires were identified within 50 kilometres of Kenora fire 71.

With 23 new fires caused by lightning as of Sunday evening, Marchand said there are currently a total of 32 new fires as of early afternoon on Monday.

"These were spread mainly throughout the west and central parts of the region," Marchand explained, "and there was some significant lightning in the past 24 hours in the Nipigon district as well."

He said burning conditions around the region are rebounding quickly, despite the rain that helped calmed the fire behaviour just before the weekend.

​"Our resources are at a premium, particularly with type 1 fire ranger crews," Marchand said, "so they are looking at rotating some of these type 1 crews off of the bigger fires in the region, to get them on some of these new fire starts before they become bigger problems," Marchand said.

Approximately 180 fire rangers are currently fighting the fires in the northwest region, with help from fire crews from Minnesota.

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