The Kenora area has seen a substantial amount of rain in the past week totaling 46.3 millimeters.

Even though the area has seen the much-needed rain, the Restricted Fire Zone is still in place.

“It hasn’t changed the Restricted Fire Zone or the fire ban situation. It was dry for so long that a lot of that rain was soaked right up by the ground really quickly. There are still some pretty big fires in the region. The cooler weather and then the humidity is helping the situation. We still got a ways to go here, I think until everything is back to what we call normal,” said Kenora Fire Chief Kent Readman

The Restricted Fire Zone was put into place on June 30, 2021, due to very hot and dry conditions and little rain in the area.

All soil wood products are banned from burning like campfire and open-air burns. Grass burning, backyard fire pits, or cookstoves that use solid fuels (wood or charcoal) are prohibited.

Propane or gas fire pits and BBQs are still allowed as they have a shutoff valve that can be quickly turned off if the flames get out of hand.

Readman added that if people are caught burning within the fire ban, residents could face fines under the Provincial Offences Act and or face a cost recovery scenario where the person is liable to pay the apparatus and fire fighting costs to extinguish the fire.

The extreme fire hazard and increased forest fire activity led the ministry to issue an Emergency Area Order across Northwestern Ontario in mid-July of this year. This order was put into effect to allow the ministry to take special measures to ensure the safety of people and the protection of critical property.

Due to the cooler temperatures and additional rain, there has been a slight increase in calls for illegal burning Readman noted, but residents have been compliant. 

In August, the Kenora area saw 87.1 millimetres of rain, which is above the 84.2 millimetre average.