After thousands of kilometres burned, Ontario wildfire season is starting to wind down

A wildfire burns in a forest near the town of Cochrane, Ont., in a June 6, 2023, handout photo. Wildfire smoke continues to blanket northern parts of Ontario today and Environment Canada is warning the very high levels of air pollution may affect vulnerable people if they don't exercise caution.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, *MANDATORY CREDIT*. GAC

A wildfire that had been burning northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., and is expected to cap off one of the worst forest fire seasons on record appears to finally be on its way to being out.

In its latest regional update, the province’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services agency said no new wildfires were reported on Monday.

“The wildland fire hazard is low across the Northwest region following significant snowfall across much of the area,” the agency said in a news release.

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Tuesday marks the last official day of the current forest fire season, which has burned more than 4,400 square kilometres of forested areas across the province.

The amount is roughly 10 times the geographical area of Thunder Bay.

Most of the damage — over 3,200 sq. km — occurred in northwestern Ontario, according to agency statistics.

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The 10-year average for the entire province is just over 1,600 sq. km.

The fire expected to be the region’s last of the season is located about 52 kilometres north of Thunder Bay on Smiley Lake, about five kilometres west of Highway 527.

Before cooler and wet weather set in, it grew to about 20 hectares.

“It was discovered on Oct. 4 and was declared being held on Oct. 8, and under control on Oct. 9,” Dryden-based agency spokesperson Chris Marchand said.

“That’s likely when crews were pulled off it.”

In Ontario, forest fire season starts each year on April 1 and goes to Oct. 31.

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