Gravenhurst Underlines Muskoka Fire Chiefs Implemented Fire Ban

Posted on Tuesday July 10, 2018

NEWS RELEASE

July 10, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

OPEN AIR FIRES PROHIBITED IN GRAVENHURST

Gravenhurst Underlines Muskoka Fire Chiefs Implemented Ban

 

Gravenhurst, ON - With major forest fires burning in different parts of Central Ontario, the Muskoka Fire Chiefs have set the forest fire risk rating to “Extreme” knowing what potential risks exist. Gravenhurst wants to emphasize the seriousness of the ban to ensure public safety.

“The heat warnings, lack of rain and over all extremely dry conditions have caused us all to take a very hard look at what environmental conditions, forecasts and the actual conditions in our forested areas are telling us,” said Breyan Sinnott, Gravenhurst fire prevention officer.  A TOTAL FIRE BAN is in effect in the Town of Gravenhurst and other communities within the District of Muskoka, which means that no fires of any type are permitted, including fires for cooking and/or warmth. The ban even extends to charcoal barbecues.

“The Gravenhurst By-law Division is enforcing the total fire ban with a zero tolerance policy pro-actively on a complaint driven basis with charges and fines ranging between $200.00 to $350.00 per offence,” said Dustin Gronc, manager of by-law services.  People who witness a violation of the ban have several options. If the fire is not a safety hazard and emergency services are not required, residents and visitors are advised to report their concerns to the By-law Division at 705-687-3412 ext. 241. Please make sure to provide the exact address of the property, time of the offence, photos if possible, and provide call back information, which is guaranteed confidential. Officers will investigate and follow up with concerns. You may also submit a complaint Online at www.gravenhurst.ca/bylaw .

If a fire is out of control or poses a threat to life, safety, or property, please call 9-1-1, the fire department will respond to an emergency. “If the fire department has to respond to an incident involving open air burning, we will additionally invoice the property owner for all costs,” said Sinnott. Costs are billed out at an hourly rate per truck, with rates starting at about $500.00 an hour. “If a fire is truly out of control and multiple trucks are needed, these costs can easily be in the thousands of dollars,” she added. “This past weekend it took our firefighters in excess of 12 hours to fully extinguish one fire.”

The Forest Fire Danger Rating will remain ‘Extreme’ until the region receives a significant amount of rainfall. Residents and visitors are encouraged to keep updated through the Town’s website at www.gravenhurst.ca , or by calling the Muskoka Fire Danger Rating line at 1-877-847-1577.

“Now is also a good time to make sure that your “72-hour kit” is equipped with all the essentials in case you have to evacuate your residence in the event of an emergency. Your kit should include two litres of water for each person, non-refrigerated foods, flashlights, a battery operated radio, emergency contact information, personal identification, insurance information, medical prescriptions, personal hygiene products, pet food and a small first aid kit,” said Sinnott. “The fire in Temagami stands as an example of how quickly a forest fire can escalate.  Everyone needs to be prepared, and that includes knowing where to go in the case of emergency, such as a relative’s or friend’s in a different community,” she added.

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For more information on fire prevention, please contact: Fire Prevention Officer Breyan Sinnott: 705-687-3414 ext. 223 or Breyan.Sinnott@gravenhurst.ca .

For further inquiries or to report an open air burning concern, please contact: By-law Division: 705-687-3412 ext. 241