Crews battling rash of forest fires in northeastern Ontario

Recent thunderstorms and hot weather have led to a rash of forest fires in the northeast, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

More than a dozen new fires attributed to lightning strikes

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says there are 38 active forest fires in northeastern Ontario as of Wednesday afternoon. (90th Parallet Productions)

Recent thunderstorms and hot weather have led to a rash of forest fires in the northeast, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Over the long weekend there were nearly a dozen new fires in the Sudbury and North Bay areas. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 38 active fires across the region.

Fire information officer Isabelle Chenard said 17 of the fires are not yet under control, while nine are under control and nine are being held. Three fires further north are also being observed to allow the natural benefits of fire on the land.

Real time updates can be found on the MNRF's website, through an interactive fire map.

This map shows forest fire conditions for northeastern Ontario as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday July 4. The yellow flames represent news fires, while the orange flame represent other active fires. The red area corresponds to extreme forest fire danger ratings. (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)

Lightning to blame

The MNRF has attributed most of the new fires to lightning strikes, following severe weather and thunderstorms over the weekend.

With more thunderstorms expected later in the week, Chenard said the MNRF is continuing to monitor forests closely.

"Over the course of seven days after the lightning has passed over an area, we are expecting the possibility of finding more fires, holdover fires from lightning," Chenard said. "We are continuing to detect fire on the landscape and we are asking the public to keep an eye out."

She adds that people should be mindful of fire crews working on the ground and in the sky.

"We have seen some instances in the northeast region recently, where water bombers are attempting to pick up water in order to go put it on a fire and there are boaters out on the lake that are encroaching in the area where the water bombers would normally perform their scoop."

Boaters should look out for water bombers or a lead plane called a bird-dog, which may sound a safety horn to warn people in the area, Chenard said.

Fire bans in place in some municipalities

The MNRF is asking the public to check with their municipality to see if there are any active fire bans.

In North Bay and surrounding areas, a full fire ban is in effect, with open air burning and fireworks not permitted. There is currently no fire ban in place in Sudbury.

Chenard said any signs of smoke or flames should be reported to the MNRF. For calls north of the French and Mattawa Rivers, the phone number is 310-FIRE (3473), while calls south of the region should be directed to 911.