Fire bans in Robinson Township
Where to start....here goes: Manitoulin island is a big place! About 130 kms as the crow flies from west to east. As many locals know it is the largest freshwater island in the world. There can be varying amounts of rain from the east and to the west end of the island. For example today in Silver Water we got an average of 8 mm of rain. Burpee Mills received around 4 mm from one report and the official rain gauge at Blue Jay Creek received 5.7 mm. It's sometimes a big difference from one end to the other on the island! So here in Robinson township there is a process we go thru to put a fire ban in place. Unlike organized townships we do not have the power to unilaterally put on a ban. There is a consult process the fire chief goes thru with the Ontario Fire Marshal. Many factors come into play when deciding to put on a ban. How much rain have we had? How much is expected? How dry is the forest interior? What winds are expected? What is the opinion of neighbouring fire chiefs? What is the current complement of MNRF fire fighters to fight forest fires? What is the response time for a water bomber? Are any water bombers available? Are any MNR fire crews available? So you see it's not an easy decision. The fire chief must balance public safety, property at risk, and resources available to make an informed decision. So even though we received rain this morning we need several days of rain like that to thoroughly dampen the forest floor and soil! Now...the forecast for Fri June 25 looks promising and perhaps the ban can be rescinded. Fingers crossed. But for now you can help...just don't have campfire of any kind. The forest here is a precious resource and many here would be devastated if a forest fire were to break out. So I appeal to you who are reading this missive... play safe and help us to prevent forest fires. Keep the forest healthy and seasonal residences standing for future generations.
Tim Mackinlay, Robinson township fire dept. Apparatus officer and generally very nervous guy when we have had no rain for a month.