It’s been an unusual scenario for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry regarding forest fires this summer. The number of fires across the province has risen to 400 compared to 262 of a year ago, but the major change is the amount of land consumed by flames….from 262,000 hectares of a year ago, to just over 5,400 hectares this year. Isabelle Chenard with the MNRF says early detection was one of the reasons for the big shift in numbers.

“Ontario implemented an aggressive approach to forest firefighting this year,” she said. “That was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our emergency services strong. “That new approach aims at detecting fires early and responding quickly. Many of the fires this year were contained by water bomber aircraft and more early detection flights.”

Chenard (Sh-nard) with the MNRF says there’s also a noticeable difference in human caused fires.

“If we look back at the beginning of the 2020 fire season, we did put in place the restricted fire zone until mid-May due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.