Another wildland fire season is upon us as it kicked off on Friday (April 1, 2022), and runs through until October 31.

Last year Ontario faced one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory as there were 1,198 wildland fires – with approximately 793,325 hectares of forests burned. This number includes the Kenora 51 Fire, which was a 200,000-hectare fire, the largest since the province started keeping statistics in 1960.

 “Last year’s wildland fire season was exceptionally busy, and while we don’t know what this season will bring, we know we can rely on our fire rangers, pilots and support staff to battle any wildland fires and protect Ontarians,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.

“There is nothing more important than protecting the safety of people and communities across the province, including our staff,” added Rickford.

The Province of Ontario welcomed assistance from a total of 496 out of province firefighting personnel in 2021. They ranged from international partners to interprovincial colleagues, working in both firefighting and specialized incident management team roles.

Internationally, there was personnel from Mexico, Australia and Wisconsin via the United States, and inter-provincially, Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec, P.E.I., and also the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Sector.

Ontario’s resources to fight wildland fires include:

  • Up to 800 fire rangers – with the ability to bring in more as needed – and a support staff of more than 500

  • A fleet of specialized aircraft used to suppress wildland fires and transport staff across the province, including nine water bombers, six twin otters, five turbo beavers and eight helicopters used for fire suppression and to move crews and equipment

  • Fourteen fire management headquarters, two regional bases and one provincial co-ordination facility.

The province is closely monitoring weather conditions to detect fires early and to avoid large, complex fires, especially near communities and critical infrastructure.