Forest fires have been the biggest topic of discussion this summer as Northwestern Ontario has endeared its worst fire season in recent memory.

As the forest fire season comes to an end Greg Rickford the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry wanted to thank all those that battled forest fires this summer in the province.

“I’m just so grateful to the people from across the country, and in fact around the world who came into help. It was a record year for fires,” said Rickford

A record year it was for forest fires in Ontario as the province saw 1180 fires burning over 770,000 hectares, which is way above the ten-year average.

Forest fires have stayed dormant in recent days as Aviation, Forest Fire, and Emergency Services haven’t discovered a new fire since September 8, 2021. Before that, no new fires were discovered since August 31, 2021.

“We’re in check right now and hopefully with this rain, we’ll see a dwindling of the existing fires and move on,” added Rickford

The biggest fire in the Northwest Region was the Kenora 51 fire that was burning through the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park 120 kilometres north of Kenora and is listed at over 200,000 hectares in size. Kenora 51 was labeled out of control for most of the summer but just recently was changed to being held.

Along with Kenora 51, the region had other large forest fires of note, which included Red Lake 51, 65, 77, and Sioux Lookout 60. These fires threatened and forced evacuations of several First Nation communities.

The status of Red Lake 77 has now been changed to under control. That fire threatened the communities around Red Lake over the summer.

The recent rainfall and cooler temperatures led the MNRF to lift the Restricted Fire Zone earlier in September that was in effect since June 30, 2021.

“I hope folks enjoyed a safe bonfire, we made a push for that in light of more rain in August and as the month ended,” says Rickford

Currently, there are 56 active fires in the northwest region. Zero fires are not under control, one fire is being held, 10 fires are under control and 45 fires are being observed. The wildland fire hazard is low across the northwest region.