Over the past few weeks the Bancroft Fire Department has had many questions asked regarding the current Total Fire Ban in effect for the area. Most questions are in relation to why the ban is still in effect after several rainfalls have occurred in the area.
Currently, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has implemented a Restricted Fire Zone for the entire ”fire region” of Ontario, which Bancroft is located within. The Ministry’s restrictions cover the same bans on open air burning, campfires and wood fired cooking / heating appliances as the Town of Bancroft’s municipal by-law for Total Fire Bans. As such, to avoid any confusion, the Bancroft Fire Department is maintaining the current municipal Total Fire Ban.
Please find below a message from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry explaining the reasoning behind keeping the current restrictions in place for the time being.
“Due to the extreme forest fire hazard, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has declared a Restricted Fire Zone for the entire fire region of Ontario (Zones 1 to 36). The Restricted Fire Zone is in effect until further notice. Restricted Fire Zones help protect public safety. Open air burning, including campfires, is not permitted within the boundaries of a Restricted Fire Zone. Portable gas or propane stoves may be used for cooking and warmth BUT must be handled with extreme caution. All burning permits are suspended. Visit Ontario.ca/forestfire for more details and follow us on Twitter @ONForestFires.
Despite the scattered rain Ontario has received the last couple of days, it is often accompanied by lightning which can strike a tree, and ignite a fire under the forest floor. Once the weather dries up, winds pick up and temperatures rebound those holdover lightning fires can appear up to about a week later. AFFES Fire management staff will be monitoring for holdover lightning fires over the coming days as a result as we see the warm and dry weather rebound this week and rainfall dissipate.
The current Restricted Fire Zone was put in place due to the extreme fire situation and hazard Northern and Central Ontario have been facing. It is a temporary measure to eliminate preventable human-caused fires while the forest and landscape is highly susceptible to fire starts.
At this time, the Restricted Fire Zone is in place for the entire fire region of Ontario until further notice.”
At the time of writing this, there is currently 89 active forest fires in the province of Ontario, with a total of nearly 327, 000 hectares of forest destroyed this year so far. This is an increase of 13, 546% (yes, you read that correctly) over last years total number of 2395.4 hectares destroyed for the total fire season and it’s only the beginning of July. There has been a total number of 384 fires to date this year, which is an increase of 250% over last years total of 110. Because of these numbers, and the overwhelming number of personnel required to fight these forest fires, the MNRF’s restrictions stay in place.
Please check our website, twitter @bancroftfire, and local news outlets for any updates to the Total Fire Ban when they occur.