Unprecedented year for forest fires

Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek was named as Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry only a few weeks ago, but he’s already been kept busy putting out fires. Real fires, not political ones.

He spoke at an annual St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon for him and MP Karen Vecchio Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Over 800 forest fires had been recorded this year, triple or quadruple the annual average, he continued. On the day of the luncheon alone, 155 were burning.

He was updated daily on the provincial situation, and daily on one fire in particular, Parry Sound 33. Over 10,000 hectares were involved, and some indigenous communities and provincial parks had been evacuated in its face.

“The biggest concern is the winds up there,” which could drive a fire from two to 25 kilometres per day, he said.

For more on the luncheon, read next week’s Express.