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Total fire ban issued in Muskoka as fire danger rating is upgraded to extreme

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The Muskoka Fire Chiefs have taken decisive action in response to the increasingly dry conditions by elevating the forest fire danger rating from high to extreme on Tuesday.

As a result, a total fire ban has been implemented throughout the District of Muskoka to ensure residents' safety and the surrounding forests' preservation.

Recent incidents of out-of-control grass and brush fires across Muskoka prompted the escalation in the fire danger rating.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast offers no respite, with no significant precipitation expected. Consequently, conditions are projected to worsen, further heightening the risk of fires in the area.

Under the total fire ban, all open-air fires and fireworks are strictly prohibited.

Residents are urged to exercise extra caution when using equipment or tools that generate heat.

Alternative methods should be considered for tasks such as grinding tools and hot works when performed outdoors. Moreover, fire officials say it is crucial to refrain from driving any vehicle through long grass or brush, as the hot exhausts and engines can potentially ignite the dry ground cover.

The public is reminded to never dispose of cigarette and joint butts out a vehicle window, which can rapidly spark a grass or brush fire in dry conditions. Officials recommend disposing of butts in a metal container or water.

Individuals using propane appliances, including barbeques, should exercise additional care and never leave them unattended.

Several factors, including relative humidity, temperature, 24-hour rainfall, and wind direction and speed, determine the fire danger rating.

It's unclear when the fire ban might be lifted.

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