Check the map below to find out where fires are occurring in 2015.
|Year to date||Fires||Hectares|
|10 year average||1,086||111,272|
This information has been provided by the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) program of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which coordinates forest fire detection, monitoring, suppression and public information and education services for Ontario.
Where are the fires?
2015 Ontario Forest Fire Season Report
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services
The 2015 forest fire season in Ontario proved to be a busy one, with some challenging forest fires and deployment of resources across Canada and into the United States. The season started with some threatening human-caused fires that needed aggressive ground and air attack to contain. Lightning-caused fires followed in the summer in both remote and urban locations. Northern locations experienced a number of high to extreme forest fire hazards and some fires of note did cause disruption and road closures.
- Provincially we recorded 666 fires with 39,312 hectares burned, compared to last season which saw 303 fires and 5,387 hectares burned.
- The ten year average is 1,086 fires and 111,272 hectares burned.
The 2015 statistics are not considered complete until all wildfire reports are finalized and the data is checked and verified. The data includes fires reported throughout the year, not just during the official fire season of April 1 to October 31. It does not include prescribed burns.
Fire Management Centres in Dryden and Sudbury respond to wildland fires for the Northwest and Northeast Regions (including parts of Southern Region).Here is an overview of the fires:.
- Northeast Region had 314 fires burning a total of 5,643 hectares.
- Northwest Region recorded 352 fires consuming 33,669 hectares.
- This season 348 of the 666 fires were caused by people with about 1,249 hectares of land burned as a result.
- There were 317 lightning caused fires and 38,062 hectares consumed.
- The remaining fire’s cause was not determined.
Although fires caused by people can be small, they are often dangerous because they are burning close to other people and their properties. Without the hard work by FireRangers and Air Attack using birddogs and waterbombers and other staff, this year’s fires had potential to become larger and more threatening.
The final costs for the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program for 2015 are not available yet. Year-to-year expenses can vary considerably depending on the number of fires and their severity in a season and can range from $75 – 231 million or more for a busy fire season. Below are initial estimates for 2015 as of Oct. 31, 2015.
- To date, the fire program estimates that it has committed approximately $92.8 million to firefighting activities within the province.
- Including $31.1 million directly related to fire suppression (crews, aircraft) and the balance is budgeted through the year as our preparedness expenses.
- Expect to recover 6.9 million in costs from sending Ontario FireRangers, aircraft and equipment to assist other provinces and the United States
Fires of Note
- Sudbury 38 was this season’s most significant fire. It was confirmed on July 23rd and called out on September 14.
- This fire reached 438 hectares and was human caused. An Incident Management Team was assigned to the incident.
- Due to the close proximity to values in the area and risk to the public, there was an Emergency Area Order issued by the Sudbury District, followed by Implementation Orders that restricted access by air and ground to the area.
- In the Northwest Region, fires of note were Kenora 05, Kenora 28, Red 17, and the Muskrat Dam Complex (Sioux Lookout 31, 32, 33, and 40).
- Southern parts of the region such as Kenora and Dryden Districts were active early in the season but activity decreased as the summer progressed. The fire situation did increase in the far north later and that remained a pattern for most of the summer with rain in the south and high to extreme forest fire hazards in the northern districts of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Nipigon.
Out of Province Deployments
During the course of the summer, Ontario provided personnel resources for wildfire management in Alberta, Parks Canada, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre located in Manitoba and the United States.
- A total of 1,079 Ontario FireRangers plus support personnel worked a combined total of 17,788 days.
- FireRangers and overhead staff personnel participated on multiple deployments.
- Four Incident Management Teams were deployed to Alberta this season.
- Aviation support was deployed to five different jurisdictions. CL-415 heavy water bombers, air attack birddog aircraft and air attack officers operated in the United States, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories
- Ontario sent two quick strike teams to assist in fire containment. Quick strike teams are airtanker groups that are dispatched into neighbouring jurisdictions to assist in wildfire suppression.
- Air Attack was also dispatched to assist our Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact members on wildfires in the province of Manitoba.
The benefit of helping other provinces when they are busy is that Ontario can benefit from the import of resources in when we need additional help. This was the case for the Sudbury 38 Wildfire, which saw a Quick Strike aircraft mission from Quebec aid in the attempts to contain this fire during a wind event.
Three Prescribed burns were ignited this season in northwestern Ontario.
- The Basket Lake Ragged Wood High Complexity Prescribed Burn occurred between September 29 and October 2. This Prescribed Burn was 3297.6 hectares in size in the Sioux Lookout and Dryden districts.
- The goals of this prescribed burn were to remove residual slash piles, create more planting sites for trees and reduce the forest fire hazard in the Sioux Lookout and Dryden Districts. The project was a success and met its desired goals.
- The Kenora District completed both the hazard reduction burn in Wabaseemoong First Nation (112.7 hectares) and the Lake of the Woods Conservation Reserve Prescribed Burn (6 hectares).
Four Prescribed burns were ignited between April 24 and May 1 in Southern Ontario.
- Two PB’s were conducted in Peter’s Woods and Burnley Carmel Provincial Parks one burn was 2.6 hectares and the other was 0.5 hectares.
- The Rondeau Provincial Park prescribed burn was approximately 6 hectares.
- The goals of these prescribed burns were to restore and maintain the Black Oak Savannah and Oak Pine Savannah habitats, while removing woody species and reducing the duff layer.
Changing for the Future
- The Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program has seen some changes this year including the release of the new Wildland Fire Management Strategy. This strategy ensures each wildland fire is assessed and receives an appropriate response according to the circumstances and condition of the fire.
- Some of our bases are undergoing infrastructure renewal including the Haliburton and Thunder Bay Fire Management Headquarters. Expansion of facilities is ongoing with the Northeast Region Forest Fire Management Centre and the Fire Management Headquarters in Sudbury.
Fire Information Officer