Updated

Fire bans for Thunder Bay, surrounding areas in effect

Due to dry conditions and high fire risk in the region, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has put a restricted fire zone in place for much of northwestern Ontario, meaning no open burning is permitted.

Bans likely to remain in place over the Victoria Day holiday weekend: MNRF

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has implemented a restricted fire zone, effective noon May 15, as shown on this map. All areas covered by the diamond pattern fall into the restricted fire zone, and no outdoor burning is allowed until further notice. (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)

Due to dry conditions and high fire risk in the region, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has put a restricted fire zone in place for much of northwestern Ontario, meaning no open burning is permitted.

And things will likely remain that way through the upcoming Victoria Day holiday weekend, the MNRF said.

The restricted fire zone includes the districts of Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Nipigon, said Chris Marchand, a fire information officer with the MNRF.

Overall, the restricted fire zone stretches from just east of Marathon to the Manitoba border, and also reaches north of Red Lake, according to an MNRF interactive forest fire information map.

'Escalating potential for human-caused fires'

"This is coming as a result of escalating potential for human-caused fires," Marchand said. "We're entering one of the busiest recreational periods of the spring at a time of high and extreme forest fire hazards."

"The ban will probably remain in place [over the weekend], unless some significant de-escalation of the hazard occurs."

A number of northwestern Ontario municipalities — including Thunder Bay, Shuniah and Dryden — have also enacted their own fire bans, and suspended fire permits.

The result is, no open fires are allowed. That includes campfires, and burning of debris or brush.

Some exceptions to fire bans

There are some exceptions, Marchand said. Commercial campgrounds can still allow campfires, provided certain conditions are met. Those conditions include restricting fires to certain times of day, and making sure all fire pits are a certain distance from vegetation.

And cooking on portable charcoal equipment is only allowed if it's taking place within 100 metres of a dwelling. Portable gas or propane stoves are permitted for use.

Marchand said as of Tuesday afternoon, there were eight forest fires active in the MNRF's northwest region, with most of them being caused by people.