A total fire ban will soon be in effect for all of Muskoka.

It will start on Thursday, May 12 at 12:01 AM. 

It means that no fires of any kind are allowed, including for cooking or warmth. Fireworks are also outlawed during the ban.

“Things have accelerated quite quickly in the region,” says Ryan Murrell, Muskoka Lakes Fire Department’s fire chief. He says how there have been multiple large-scale fires in the area, including one in Muskoka Lakes, this week. There have also been multiple fires in Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Bracebridge. 

“We have to institute a total fire ban in order to control the resources,” he explains. “If we have to fight any fire right now, it’s going to be hot and it’s going to be hard.”

While a total fire ban is normal for this time of year, Murrell says it’s happening earlier this time around. He says there are high winds in the area, which have only helped to accelerate the drying out of forested areas. “Right now, without any moisture coming, without any precipitation, a fire will take it off and it will run quite fast so if we can limit the human-caused fires by initiating a fire ban, that is that this is intended to do,” he adds.

Murrell says being that it’s so dry, they will likely still be called to fires. However, if they’re able to control human-lit burns, he explains that will give the departments some relief. Murrell says that fire departments will call on neighbouring firefighters for support occasionally, but that becomes more difficult during times like this. “If we’re all fighting fires at the same time, then all our teams are exhausted,” he says.

“We ask people to exercise great care inside forested areas,” Murrell says.