Though it has seemed pretty crispy-crunchy in many parts the province for several weeks now, the number of forest fires recorded so far this season is below the 10-year average, provincial officials report.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, there have been 578 fires province-wide so far, compared to an average amount of 711 fires over the first half of a fire season.

Of the current amount, 191 have burned in the Northwest. As of Thursday, eight fires were burning in the region, most of them small.

“The fire hazard in most of the region is low to moderate, but higher in the far north,” said Dryden-based MNRF fire information officer Deb MacLean.

The largest fire, about 950 hectares, is burning in a remote area about 300 kilometres northwest of Geraldton.

MacLean said none of the fires were threatening any communities, and no evacuations were being contemplated Thursday.

As is often the case, two new fires that popped up earlier this week in the Kenora area were human caused and are under investigation.

Meanwhile, five fires that had burning in the Sioux Lookout area earlier this summer were declared out earlier this week.

Also declared out was Red Lake Fire No. 3, which got up to 74,000 hectares in size in Woodland Caribou provincial park near the Manitoba border.

MacLean said the outlook might improve with a bit of rain in many parts of the region expected Thursday and Friday.

That would be welcome in Thunder Bay, which as of early Thursday had only received 11.6 millimetres so far this month. The normal amount in the city for August is nearly 88 millimetres.

The relative drought-like conditions are quite a contrast to June, when Thunder Bay received a record 220 millimetres, more than twice the amount the city normally receives in that month.