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HomeNewsMuskoka-wide fire danger rating season starts soon

Muskoka-wide fire danger rating season starts soon

April 1 will mark the start of the Muskoka-wide fire danger season. 

The Muskoka Association of Fire Chiefs will meet daily until Oct. 31 to determine if the rating needs to be changed. 

The fire danger rating has four levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. 

Kevin Plested, fire prevention officer with the Bracebridge Fire Department, says, with support from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), they use the Fire Weather Index system to figure out if a change is needed. It factors in temperature, humidity, how dry the area is or isn’t, and what the MNRF is saying. “It just helps us to look at what the potential is,” explains Plested. 

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As the little snow remaining melts and the temperature gets warmer, Plested says all fire departments are continuing to prepare for the upcoming season as well as cautioning homeowners and individuals about the dos and don’ts. 

He says the most important things to remember are to never leave a fire unattended and always have water and tools to put it out within arm’s reach. 

“I’ve run into a few instances where a homeowner said they just walked up to the house, came back down, and the fire was spreading,” he says. 

Plested adds other best practices are: 

  • Check the fire danger rating before lighting any fire. 
  • Keep it at least 20 ft. away from nearby properties, structures, trees, or anything that can burn. 
  • Do not use aerosols or accelerants on a fire, like gasoline. 
  • Only burn dry wood. Don’t burn grass, yard waste, or green wood. 
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area. 
  • Keep children, pets, and adults a safe distance away from fires. 
  • If anything goes wrong, call 911. 

Plested says a good resource to check is the FireSmart Canada website. 

Anyone with questions about the fire danger rating should reach out to their area’s fire department. 

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