People urged to use caution with outdoor fires

The Ministry of Natural Resources is advising campers and others vacationing in Ontario’s outdoors on Labour Day weekend to use caution with all outdoor fires and do their part in preventing human-caused forest fires.

In the past 10 years, 91 human-caused forest fires have been started in Ontario during the September long weekend.

Campers should keep campfires small and ensure they are fully extinguished before leaving the site. Anglers could consider using a portable gas cookstove as a safe alternative for shore lunches. Never leave campfires unattended. In addition, people should check with the local municipality about other restrictions and guidelines.

With white-tailed deer archery season opening September 1 in northwestern Ontario and bear hunting season already open across the north, hunters are reminded that fire staff may still be operating in forested areas. In addition, fire vehicles may be traveling along roadways and back-country areas. Hunters are asked to travel slowly and use caution in these areas.

Currently, there are 27 active fires across Northern Ontario. To date, 1,018 fires have burned over 40,000 hectares in the province. During the 2006 fire season, 1,513 fires had burned some 62,769 hectares by the Labour Day weekend.

Ontario’s FireRangers and forest fire fighting aircraft have also been busy this summer helping fight fires in other jurisdictions including Michigan, Minnesota, Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia.