Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Burn restrictions on minds as dryness evident in area

By Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Chronicle-Journal   

Industry News News Canada wildfire season firefighting Ontario wildfire

Mar. 16, 2024, Thunder Bay, Ont. – Unusually dry ground conditions have prompted at least one rural Thunder Bay municipality to ban outdoor burning during daylight hours, with others possibly following suit.

An Oliver Paipoonge bulletin said this week that day burning was banned within that municipality as of Tuesday until further notice.

“The official fire season does not start until April 1, however, due to current weather conditions and resulting fire hazard, we are looking at (an) early start of the 2024 fire season,” fire Chief Sean Horan said in the bulletin.

Under the order, burning is banned two hours before sunset and two hours after sunrise, the bulletin said.


According to Environment Canada, the Thunder Bay area was to receive some rain late Friday and into this morning, but it wasn’t expected to be “a big dump,” said Toronto-based meteorologist Trudy Kidd.

Kidd said the low-pressure system bringing the moisture appeared to be coming from the Arctic, “so it won’t be bringing a lot of precipitation.”

Conmee fire Chief Robb Day said his municipality is also looking at similar burn restrictions “very soon.”

“It’s looking like we are about to have a dry start to a potentially very dry and high-risk fire season,” Day said. “This risk . . . can be reduced exponentially by restrictions on daytime burning.”

Neebing acting fire chief Roger Van Ballegooie said that while Oliver Paipoonge’s partial burn ban is “understandable,” Neebing isn’t going to follow suit just yet.

“We will continue to watch spring melt and any further precipitation as we approach the April 1 burn permit season,” Van Ballegooie said.

Last summer’s wildfire season in the province, which particularly impacted Northwestern Ontario, was one of the worst on record.

A regional spokesman for Ontario’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services agency said there is no current plans to impose any provincial restricted fire zones.

“As we are still a few weeks away from the point where provincial legislation will begin to regulate open burning, municipal fire teams who may be concerned about local fire danger conditions can enact their own measures to regulate the public’s use of fire in this period,” said Dryden-based agency spokesman Chris Marchand.

On the plus side, Kidd said the forecast for next week is calling for temperatures in the Thunder Bay district to be slightly cooler than normal.

The normal day-time high for the city at this time of year is 1 C.

Print this page


Stories continue below