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Forest fires have consumed triple the average hectares in 2021

As of Tuesday, there had been 759 forest fires reported, 287 more than the 10-year average to date.
Mexican Firefighters
Firefighters from Mexico have arrived in Northwestern Ontario to help fight more than 100 wildfires burning in Northwestern Ontario. (submitted photo)

The total number of forest fires to date in 2021 is about 60 per cent higher than the 10-year average.

According to Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestriy (MNRF) information officer Jonathan Scott, as of Tuesday morning there had been 759 fires to date, 287 more than the 472 to this point on average over the past decade.

The fires have also consumed more than three times as much terrain, burning 475,444 hectares, compared to a 10-year average of 151,898.

“There have been a lot of fires to manage,” said Scott, noting fire crews are putting out about 10 fires a day.

“We’re trying to get to fires when they’re smaller.”

In northwestern Ontario, 58 new fires were discovered yesterday, bringing the total number of active fires in that region to 155. Of those, 77 are not under control, 12 are being held, 46 are being observed and 20 are under control, according to the MNRF's update last night. 

Firefighters tackling some of the region’s larger fires got a bit of a reprieve over the past couple of days, with 24 millimetres of rain falling in the Deer Lake First Nation area and 25 millimetres in the Poplar Hills First Nation area.

Both communities have been evacuated as fires advanced toward them and thick smoke made breathing difficult.

However, with the rain came lightning strikes, which have led to more fires starting, Scott cautioned.

Three communities have been evacuated.

There are 629 people from Poplar Hill First Nation evacuated to Thunder Bay, Kapuskasing and Cochrane.  Thunder Bay, Cornwall, Cochrane and Dryden are hosting 872 people from Deer Lake First Nation. These two evacuations are complete, according to the MNRF.

The evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation is ongoing. So far, 1,081 people have been evacuated to Timmins, Sudbury, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. 

In the northeast region, there are currently 15 active fires. Of those, one is not under control, one is being held, six are under control and seven are being observed.

- With files from TB Newswatch


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 19 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Wants his Expos back. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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