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Keeping an eye on the Melting Snow

March 16, 2010 — The current mild and dry trend could have an affect on Ontario's forest fire season.

The official start to spring is on Saturday, but it's already feeling like it in Ontario. It was even a relatively mild and dry winter across the province.

Environment Canada's David Phillips says he hasn't seen a winter like this in 63 years. And the cause of that could be El Nino.“This was a very moderate to intense El Nino so we knew it was going to have a flavour of that but certainly not in the proportions that it has.”

If the trend continues it could be a dry spring as well, and that's forcing climatologists to look ahead.

“It could be a forest fire year, it could be grasshoppers, it could be drought, it could be low water levels, there could be more bugs and nuisances from that point of view we’ll have to see what spring and summer brings to fully understand the impacts from our mild winter season,” explains Phillips.

But Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources isn't taking any chances.

Officials are already keeping a close eye on the melting snow and drying forests across the province. The below normal snow levels from the winter and current mild trend could mean an early start to the forest fire season. The Ministry is prepared and ready to bring in resources as needed.

Last year there were 384 fires in Ontario between April 1st and October 31st. The cooler and wet weather during the spring season helps to reduce the chance of spreading fires.

For the latest details on the weather in your area tune into The Weather Network on TV. Your Regional Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of each hour.

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