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Over 800 fires claimed in northwestern Ontario in 2018 fire season

Nov 01, 2018 05:32PM ● By Editor
A total of 839 fires sparked in northwestern Ontario during the 2018 fire season. That's higher than the 10 year provincial average, according to the Ministry's fire information officer. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

By Christina Jung · CBC News · November 1, 2018

As October comes to an end, so too does the official fire season in northwestern Ontario.

"I think the story of 2018 depends on what side of the province you were on," said fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Chris Marchand.

He said "residents in Parry Sound and North Bay" will probably remember this year's fire season for a long time as "stakes are immeasurably higher when lives and property and major transportation corridors are threatened by a wild land fire."

In northwestern Ontario, Marchand said it was "a very busy fire season as well" however many of the fires were located in "remote areas or in the far north."

"The northwest region claimed about 839 of the provincial total of 1325 fires and that easily outstrips the 10 year average for all fires across the province," Marchand added.

"On a typical year, you'll have about 750 fires."

This year, a total of over 200,000 hectares were burned in northwestern Ontario, which is "about 77 per cent of the total hectares affected by a wild fire in the province,"

While the 2018 fire season was a busy one, Marchand said there have been similar years in the past decade.

"For example, 2011 in the northwest, we had 908 fires in the region which accounted for 632,000 hectares, so almost three times more area affected," Marchand said, adding that the lack of precipitation coupled with lightning strikes plays a big role on how active the fire season in the region will be.

With the fire season officially over on October 31, Marchand said the focus of the fire crews will be to work on "winterizing the fleet," which means making sure all the equipment has been "reclaimed, recovered and make serviceable again for the coming season."

To see the original article and related coverage on Ontario wildfires, follow this link to the CBC News website.

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