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Hot conditions spark surge in forest fires

MNRF reports twenty new forest fires Saturday as fire hazard high to extreme across much of region
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The MNRF announced 20 new forest fires Saturday evening. (File)

THUNDER BAY - Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is reporting a growing number of forest fires across northwestern Ontario following days of intense heat in much of the region. 

The MNRF announced 20 new fires in the northwest region Saturday evening, a steep increase that brought the region to a total of 25 active forest fires.

Of those, 16 were considered not under control and 4 under control, with 4 being held and one being observed. 

The fires are scattered throughout the region, with many at one hectare or less. Two fires in the Red Lake area, however, had grown much larger.

Red Lake 18 is not under control at 104 hectares, and is in Opasquia Provincial Park, about 50 kilometres northeast of the community of Sandy Lake.

Red Lake 22 is not under control at 20 hectares, located near Little Gorman Lake, about 50 kilometres northwest of the community of Deer Lake.

The fire hazard remained high to extreme across most of the region. Residents can check the fire hazard status in their area through the province's website.

The MNRF reminds the public to use caution when performing any outdoor burning. Fires are to be ignited no sooner than two hours before sunset, and extinguished no later than two hours after sunrise.