Winter snow accumulations could help delay spring fire hazard
Tim Brody - Editor
Snow accumulations this winter could be good news for the start of this year’s wildland fire season, which begins on April 1.
Chris Marchand, Fire Information Officer for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES), shared, “It’s very difficult to accurately predict what the weather will do too far in advance, though a higher than normal snowpack in many areas of the northwest region, and all the moisture that entails, could help delay the spring fire hazard the longer the snow lingers on the ground and in the bush.”
Marchand said early forecasts are showing a cool spring with normal precipitation. He added, “Dry starts to the spring may be seen in the areas of Red Lake, Kenora, Dryden area along the Manitoba border. Preliminary forecasts show summer to be slightly warmer than normal with normal precipitation for most of the province. The western side of the province along the Manitoba border and along the eastern border with Quebec could be slightly drier than normal.”
With the wildland fire season’s start right around the corner, Marchand said FireRanger recruitment is underway.
“FireRanger recruitment is an important aspect of our pre-fire season activities at the moment. I would encourage anyone interested in exploring this role to check our website at ontario.ca/fireranger. There you can find the requirements, materials you will need for the application process and contact information for the various Fire Management Headquarters across Ontario. The deadline for 2022 FireRanger applications is April 15,” he shared.
Commenting on last year’s fire season Marchand said, “The 2021 season, as with most fire seasons, continued to prove the value of our partnerships with fire management agencies from various provinces across Canada and all over the world. Having the flexibility to move important resources around to where they are needed the most is such an important feature of what we do. As well it’s important that, when it’s possible to do so, we answer the call of our partners when their fire situations escalate as ours did in 2021.”
Marchand concluded, “Despite the likelihood of snow on the ground for the start of the fire season on April 1st. It’s important for residents to remember that Ontario’s outdoor burning regulations come into effect with the start of the season. If you’re burning piles of debris, it’s important to observe the time of day rules – don’t light fires until two hours before sunset and extinguish them no later than two hours after sunrise. And keep them to two metres high and two metres in diameter. Light one at a time and have tools and water nearby to put the fire out.”