Help Prevent Forest Fires This Year
Province Reminding Public to Practice Safe Fire Etiquette
Ontario is reminding the public to practice safe fire etiquette when camping or starting a fire outdoors this year.
April through October marks forest fire season in Ontario. On average, more than 1,000 wildfires burn each year across the province, with about half of them caused by people.
Anyone starting outdoor fires must follow strict guidelines under the Forest Fires Prevention Act to ensure their fires are properly managed, including:
- Taking all necessary steps to tend the fire
- Keeping it under control
- Making sure the fire is out before leaving the site.
A person failing to adhere to these standards could be fined and held responsible for the cost of putting out the fire.
Other ways you can help prevent forest fires include:
- Spreading out leaves if raking them into a forested area. Piles of leaves don't decompose very quickly and if they catch on fire can be quickly carried by the wind.
- Storing all firewood at least 10 metres from all structures, including decks.
- Keeping roofs and rain gutters free of flammable leaves, pine needles, and other debris that can be ignited by wind-blown embers.
- Ensuring firework displays are safe by launching fireworks over an area free of flammable material, such as gravel or a body of water and, when completed, checking the area for any hot residue to ensure it is put out.
- Ontario’s forest firefighting program has more than $42 million in fire suppression equipment, as well as nine water bombers, four helicopters and three twin otter aircraft. Additional contract aircraft are added as needed.
- In addition to fighting fires in our province, Ontario personnel fight fires in other jurisdictions as needed. Through this reciprocal agreement, when Ontario needs help, other jurisdictions send personnel to Ontario.
- People are reminded to consult with local fire officials for specific municipal bylaws on outdoor fires.
“Ontario’s FireRangers are highly trained professionals, dedicated to protecting people, property and important forest resources. With the start of the 2016 fire season, I’d like to remind everyone to follow ministry and municipal guidelines, and be cautious and properly manage outdoor fires, especially in forested areas.”