Why Controlled Wildfires Can Still Smolder At Night? Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department Explains

MNRF File photo

Wildfires happen for many reasons. Carelessly discarded smoking materials, unattended campfires or campfires that are not fully extinguished account for a large majority of fires starting, however, natural causes such as lightning can also cause fires.

Early spring in Muskoka presents some challenges as the forests have not yet fully “greened-up”. This, combined with warmer temperatures, very low humidity (amount of moisture in the air) during the day, high winds in the afternoon and a lack of rain, all combine to make for some dangerous conditions. This is where the “No Daytime Burning” rules come from as well.

Firefighters work feverishly to control any fire. Factors such as the amount of fuel in the forest, windy conditions and hilly terrain can cause a wildland fire to quickly spread through the bush. In consultation with the MNRF on larger fires, decisions on how best to “control” the spread of fire are made.

Once the fire is deemed “under control”, firefighters now re-group and start the process of putting out “hotspots”. As you can well imagine, a large fire could take several hours to bring under control and several more to fully extinguish remaining hotspots. Often times firefighters are working until sunset to accomplish this. For the safety of the firefighters, if the fire is under control and there is no risk to property or lives, they will not fight the fire in the dark. After sunset, conditions become favourable and the fire activity will significantly decrease due to the higher humidity levels, low wind conditions and lower temperatures.

Residents in the area may still smell or see smoke at night, but rest assured, the risk of any fire spreading is diminished overnight and our firefighters will return at first light to complete the extinguishment.

Please do your part to help prevent wildfires. For more information on preventing forest fires and having a safe campfire, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-prevent-forest-fires.


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