Two Winnipeg men have been fined a total of $1,000 and ordered to pay $6,000 towards the suppression costs for a fire that they started in a restricted fire zone.

Jett Vanswell and Ezra Reimer pleaded guilty and were each fined $500 for starting a fire in a restricted fire zone without a permit. They were also each ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution costs.

Court heard that on the May long weekend of 2016, the men, while on a back-country canoe trip, camped on a small island on Bain Lake, in the District of Kenora. Although the area was within a restricted fire zone at the time, the men built campfires during their trip. On May 22, 2016, their campfire escaped and burned most of the island. The fire was extinguished by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry fire rangers, partly by air attack. The fire was investigated by Kenora conservation officers.

Justice of the Peace Robert McNally heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Kenora, on January 31, 2017.

The ministry reminds the public that all forest fires are investigated to determine their cause. A person can be held responsible for the costs of extinguishing a forest fire.  Restricted fire zones are put in place to prohibit open wood burning when forest fire conditions are extreme.

If you have information about a forest fire, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)