Ontario's 2020 wildland fire season officially ends today, closing a season well below Ontario's 10-year average in total number of fires and total affected area.
Since April 1, there have been 607 fires, far below the 10-year average of 870 for this time of year. The area burned was approximately 15,460 hectares, less than 10 per cent of the 10-year average of more than 162,000 hectares.
However, it posed a new level of risk due to the COVID-19 outbreak for firefighters and communities threatened by fire.
"This season has truly been like no other and our fire rangers have been on the front lines, facing unprecedented challenges with professionalism, dedication, and courage," said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
"The province's approach to fire management this year placed an even stronger focus on early detection, combatting detected fires with full force in order to keep them small, and implementing a Restricted Fire Zone across Ontario's legislated fire region from April 3 to May 16 to reduce the risk of preventable human-caused fires and focus efforts on where they were needed the most," said a government news release.
The province relies on over 1,300 fire rangers and support staff, as well as dozens of pilots and engineers to coordinate the protection of 90 million hectares of Crown land in Ontario.
This year, Ontario deployed more than 150 fire personnel to help combat wildland fires in Australia, Quebec and Oregon as part of mutual aid agreements with jurisdictions around the world.