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MNRF: Possibility of ‘earlier than normal fire season’

By Adam Riley Feb 7, 2024 | 8:26 AM

Your eyes can tell you the obvious but its confirmed weather stations operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have recorded a lower than normal amount of snow which has hit the region this winter.

Fire Information Officer Chris Marchand says right now the current snow pack or lack there of has them a little concerned.

“If the pattern holds currently, we could be in for an earlier than normal spring fire season.”

However Marchand notes with a little less than two months until the start of the fire season on April 1st, there is a chance things could turn around.

Another point of concern is how the spring melt will play out.

When the MNRF begins to observe snow free conditions in open areas or snow retreating that would signal to the agency the beginning of burning conditions.

There are some areas which have seen considerable snow pack but Marchand says should the melt begin too soon it could repeat what occurred in the spring of 2021.

“We saw a lot of it (melting snow) sort of run off over frozen ground and really didn’t get deep into the ground like we would like it to.”

The MNRF is attributing some of the warmer and drier than normal conditions the region has experienced to El NiƱo, but Marchand says the influence of the climate phenomenon is expected to weaken as the weeks go on, eventually becoming neutral by the time summer arrives.