Yesterday marked the opening of the Canadian border to fully vaccinated American tourists for the first time since March of 2020 and the Minaki Fire Department is reminding new tourists in the area that a Restricted Fire Zone is in place in the region, which restricts any sort of burning.

“Currently, there is a fire ban through most of the Northwest Region of Ontario and as well as fire bans in Manitoba. We would like for people to be aware of that, every time we have a new group of tourists coming in, we just have to keep reminding them, and with the Americans coming in, we want to make sure they know. Educate is better than running into problems,” said Robert Creedon Minaki Fire Chief and Minaki Fire Educator

The Restricted Fire Zone prohibits grass, debris, and campfires, even when using an outdoor fire grate, fireplace, or fire pit. Portable gas stoves may still be used BUT must be handled with extreme care.

It is a temporary measure put in place to prevent human-caused fires when the fire hazard is extreme or when firefighting resources are limited.

In some cases, municipalities have implemented a burning ban, which restricts the use of fireworks, in addition to the Restricted Fire Zone.

The region is currently experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. As of yesterday, over 1000 fires have been discovered so far this year with over 500,000 hectares burned. In 2020, there were 474 discovered throughout the season and the ten-year average is 555 fires discovered per year.

As an increase of tourists is visiting the Minaki area, Creedon also wants to remind people that there is a 30 km/h suggested speed limit through Minaki playground areas and for people to be aware of their surroundings and watch for people and children.