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Huge swath of Ontario covered by restricted fire zone

Zone stretches from near Ottawa in the south almost all the way to the James Bay Coast
The area marked with Xs shows the massive area now covered by a restricted fire zone imposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. (MNRF map)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has expanded the restricted fire zone farther south as fire crews continue to try to contain 55 wildfires.

Calling the fire hazard “extreme,” MNRF said recent periods of heavy lightning and the fact little rain has fallen are contributing to the continued increased forest fire risk. The ministry has expanded the restricted fire zone farther south. It will remain in place until further notice. 

The expanded restricted fire zone now includes Zones 24, 25 and 26, which includes areas south of the French River, including Parry Sound, from Georgian Bay east to the Quebec border, including Algonquin Provincial Park and from Renfrew north to Mattawa. All told, the zone stretches from just south of Moosonee-Moose Factory on the James Bay Coast in the north, south to Arnprior just outside of Ottawa, and from the Quebec border west to near Marathon.

The current restricted fire zone covers Zones 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 26 and restrictions will remain in place until further notice. You can track the fires yourself on the MNRF’s interactive fire map.

During a restricted fire zone, the use of open fires – including campfires and the burning of brush or debris — is restricted. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to $25,000 and three months in jail, as well as financial responsibility for the costs incurred in fighting a forest fire.

Portable gas or propane stoves are permitted for use for cooking or warmth, though they should be closely monitored. Portable charcoal barbecues and Hibachis are not permitted unless within 100 metres of a dwelling, or within an organized campground.

Commercial campground operators may allow their guests to enjoy campfires during a Restricted Fire Zone period provided they meet certain conditions in the Outdoor Fires Regulation (207/96).