Sudbury forest fire management centre gets upgrade
Construction underway to expand regional centre for fighting forest fires in northeastern Ontario
Forest firefighters in northeastern Ontario haven't been very busy so far this year, but there's plenty of activity at the Ministry of Natural Resources firefighting centre at the Sudbury airport.
The centre is getting a major expansion to the offices, warehouse and tarmac area, where water bombers and other firefighting planes park.
Infrastructure and facilities co-ordinator Mike Monzon said the upgrades are long overdue.
"In years where we have been really busy — 2012 is a good example when we had Timmins 9 and Kirkland Lake 8 were going — it gets pretty tight here," he said.
The Sudbury facility serves the local area, but is also the regional centre to co-ordinate firefighting for northeastern Ontario.
Slow fire season
So far this year, fire crews in Ontario have dealt with just 94 forest fires, a number that is far lower than the average. During the last 10 years, the province usually sees more than 300 fires by the time summer begins.
Sudbury forest fire crews continue to work from the facility during construction.
"We haven't seen it busy with this construction here yet," Monzon said, adding that if forest fire season ramps up, crews will take it in stride.