All of Ontario under fire ban as 80 wildfires burn across province

There are currently at least 80 wildfires in Ontario.

Twenty-seven of them are in the northeastern region of the province, while 53 are in the northwest, according to data provided by the Ministry of Natural and Forest Resources.

Fire risk remains high to extreme for most of the province today, the ministry says.

most of Ontario entered a multi-day heat event on Tuesday that could send temperatures skyrocketing into the 40s. While the northern regions saw rain over the weekend, authorities say it provided little relief from the fires.

All regions of Ontario are currently under fire bans. Outdoor burning, including campfires, is not permitted. Propane gas or propane stoves can be used, but officials urge people to handle them with extreme caution.

Ontario Wildfire Information Map

A ‘NEW NORMAL’ FOR ONTARIO

In 2022, the government recorded 109 forest fires. So far this year, the province has reported more than three times as many as last year’s tally. Collectively, 368 fires have burned more than 110,000 hectares of land in Ontario this year.

The provincial average of 10 years is about 140 fires.

Of the fires observed by the CIFFC from April to June, which includes 275 fires, around 102 were caused by humans, while another 173 were naturally caused.

ontario wildfires

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Doug Ford urged residents not to build campfires in an effort to prevent more fires from starting.

“I’m asking all Ontarians: Please don’t light any fires,” Ford said. “We’re out there, all the firefighters are out there, I should say, fighting these wildfires. […] We will use whatever resources we can to make sure we put out these fires.”

However, experts say it is more than just human responsibility and that climate change is playing a role in the spread of the fires.

Tanzina Mohsin, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Toronto, told CTV News Toronto earlier this month that rising temperatures are a “key factor” in the increase in fires.

“This is basically drying up our forests and causing them to burn more,” he said.

“We are creating a thirsty atmosphere and this is pulling water from our plants and that is causing our vegetation to be drier than normal, and then you see these wildfires spreading faster.”

Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, said last month that increased smoke from wildfires is a “new normal” in the province and suggested that people get into the daily habit of monitoring air quality.

With files from Katherine Declerq of CTV News Toronto and Chelsea Papineau of CTV News Northern Ontario.


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