TORONTO: Ontario is ready to respond to this year’s wildland fire season, which began this week tomorrow and runs until October 31.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has hired highly trained firefighters, pilots and support staff and is providing health and safety, and specialized training.
MNRF also ensures equipment is maintained so that the ministry is ready to respond to wildland fires and other natural emergencies.
“Our government has been diligently planning and preparing for the wildland fire season within this evolving landscape,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
“We will continue to deliver emergency services in the safest work environment possible.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year the government placed province-wide restrictions on the use of outdoor fires by way of a Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ).
With health and safety protocols around COVID-19 now well-established, an RFZ is not necessary at this time. However, the province will continue to assess forest fire hazard conditions now that the fire season has arrived and an RFZ designation may be required if the fire hazard warrants.
The ministry is closely monitoring weather conditions – a key factor in determining how busy the fire season will be. MNRF also strives to detect fires early to avoid large, complex fires, especially near communities and critical infrastructure.
• Last year in Ontario there were 607 wildland fires; about half of them caused by people.