|Back to Home||Feature Article - August 2, 2012|
Fire bans being enforcedby Jeff Green
There are total fire bans in place in Central and North Frontenac, Addington Highlands and all of Lanark County. This means that even in provincial campgrounds, no fires are permitted at all, not even cook fires or campfires.
North Frontenac Fire Chief Steve Riddell said on Monday that there have only been limited wildfires in the township thus far, but members of the fire department and OPP officers on patrol are on the lookout for any signs of open air burning.
“When we get a report of smoke, no matter what time of day it is, we send someone over to investigate. If it is a campfire, we make sure it is out, and we consider charges as well. The situation is serious this summer.”
North Frontenac crews have been called out on numerous occasions to help beleaguered crews in Central Frontenac, who dealt with nine wildfires in one five-day stretch.
Fires have been caused by lightning strikes, cigarette butts carelessly tossed out, and even the sun reflecting off a glass bottle.
“It’s very hard to put a wildfire out,” said Riddell, “and very time consuming. Someone has to return every day looking over every inch of ground for smouldering brush that is waiting for bit of breeze to start the whole thing up again.”
There was a fire on Crown land near Crotch Lake in mid-July that took MNR firefighters over a week to finally put out.
Central Frontenac firefighters also worked on a brush fire near Parham for a week last month before finally calling in water bombers.
As the long weekend approaches, officials will be out looking for any sign of open burning, and they will be laying charges if necessary.
The long-term forecast indicates that the underlying dry conditions will likely persist to the end of the summer, so residents and visitors alike are advised to observe the fire ban, and to take extra care when smoking outdoors.
The only exception to the total fire ban is in South Frontenac, where only a Level 1 fire ban is in place for the moment, permitting camping and cook fires.