April 1 will mark the start of Muskoka’s fire danger rating season.
Mike Vadlja, Fire Prevention Officer for the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department, says that means no burning will be allowed anywhere in Muskoka between 8 AM and 6 PM. Outside of those hours, he says you’re allowed to burn so long as you’re following the appropriate by-laws in your municipality.
If you are burning, Vadlja says to keep piles and campfires small and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area. “One thing we run into in the spring is people burning leaves,” he explains. “You have to pay special attention to that, especially in the early spring. Conditions can change really quickly. We could get low humidity in the afternoon and wind and things will dry out pretty quick.”
“Hopefully it will be a smooth start to the season,” Vadlja adds.
The five fire chiefs in Muskoka meet every day at 1 PM to determine if a change to the rating is necessary. Vadlja says the forecast for the first few weeks of April shows “cool” weather, so it’s unlikely the rating will need to be escalated. “But a sunny day with low humidity and wind could change that,” he adds.
Muskoka’s fire danger rating ends on Oct. 31.