Restricted Fire Zone lifted, Province okaying backcountry camping
Tim Brody - Editor
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry lifted a Restricted Fire Zone in the place in the Northwest Region at 12:01 a.m. on May 30.
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout clarified what this means for local residents, sharing on its Facebook page, “Please note that Fire Permits are currently unavailable for sale, however, persons may engage in outdoor burning activities, providing all rules that would apply to a Fire Permit holder (must have suppression equipment on hand; may only burn during permitted hours; etc.) must be adhered to. “Additionally, if a fire becomes out of control, the individual who was responsible for the fire, will also be responsible for the full cost of suppressing the fire - this can be extremely expensive, so please burn carefully!”
The Municipality clarified that that small fires for cooking and warmth are not subject to any specific time frame and do not required a burning permit.
Last week the Province of Ontario announced, “As of June 1, backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.”
The provincial government defined backcountry camping as, “Involves hiking or paddling through park lands and setting up camp in remote areas. These campers are typically in small groups, fully equipped with supplies, and do not normally require the use of any facilities, such as washrooms, showers or other amenities.”
The provincial government clarified in a news release, “Following current provincial restrictions, no more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite during their stay, unless they live in the same household.
“The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended to June 14 and will continue to be reassessed. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.
“In addition, Ontario is reopening recreational camping on Crown land while reminding visitors to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best defense against COVID-19, such as practicing physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and frequent hand washing. Camping on Crown land does not include the use of shared facilities and is a low-risk way for people to enjoy the outdoors.”