It’s the time of year to start talking about forest fires and the hazard rating. The first two fires of the season in our region are burning south of Timmins.

MNR fire information officer Evan Lizotte says one of them is two kilometres southeast of Morin Village, which is on Highway 560.  It was confirmed Tuesday afternoon at 375.5 hectares.

“Hwy. 560 is currently closed from Hwy. 144 to Elk Lake, due to fire and smoke,” Lizotte notes. “It is not under control.”

The other one is just southwest of there, at 57.5 hectares. Neither is it under control at last report.

For perspective: One hectare is roughly the size of a football field. Ten four-person fire ranger crews are battling the larger blaze; three on the smaller one.

“The fire hazard is moderate to low west of Timmins,” Lizotte reports, “then it gets moderate to high east of Timmins, on your way to Temiskaming Shores. There is not much of a hazard north of Timmins.”

Lizotte urges caution with outdoor burning, which is only allowed from two hours before sunset until two hours after sunrise.