Thunder Bay

25 new forest fires 'attributed to lightning' in northwestern Ontario on Tuesday, says MNRF

The scattered rain and lack of precipitation this summer throughout much of northwestern Ontario has caused an increase in lightning-caused fires with a total of 25 forest fires reported on Tuesday, said fire information officer Chris Marchand.

There's a total of 73 active fires in the region

Pilots watch as air tankers come in for a landing at the Dryden Airport. (Chris Marchand / MNRF)

The scattered rain and lack of precipitation this summer throughout much of northwestern Ontario has caused an increase in lightning-caused fires with a total of 25 new forest fires reported on Tuesday, said fire information officer Chris Marchand.

"Almost of all those fires were attributed to lightning," Marchand explained, "and the majority of them were located in the Red Lake and Sioux Lookout districts, but I think Dryden and Fort Frances caught their fair share as well."

He said conditions in this region have allowed lightning strikes from the last few days to "emerge from the ground as fires," which means the fire behaviour this week is expected to increase as well.

"We have this combination of dry forest fuels and high drought code values ... and consistent winds [which] are driving this recent rise and new fire starts," Marchand said.

Busy week ahead

"Not only are we seeing plenty of new starts, but we're also expecting to see a higher level of fire behaviour from those fires ... which sometimes places more strain on our aerial firefighting resources," said Marchand.

Last year in northwestern Ontario there were 637 fires, however, this year that number has nearly doubled to 1,137 forest fires, due to this year's dry conditions in the region.

He said the lack of precipitation this summer has made fighting the fires challenging for crews as fires are burning deeper into the ground, requiring more water and effort to extinguish.

Currently in the region, Marchand said that there are 51 fire crews ready to respond to the fires at any moment and 47 crews already working on controlling the fires in the region.