Forest Fires Impacting Region

Firemap
Map of active fires in Northern Ontario July 19 2011
THUNDER BAY – The hot weather is impacting the forest fire situation across Northwestern Ontario, and the province. There are 103 active fires burning in Ontario. There were 20 new fires yesterday. This daily trend is expected to continue. Severe fire behaviour has caused growth to several fires.

Smoke is visible in the sky for most of northern Ontario today, spreading as far as the eastern provinces. Winds continue to move smoke south today; smoke issues will become evident in communities down wind from the fires in the far north.

Smoke on the ground continues to create issues for many First Nation communities. First Nations Chiefs and Emergency Management Ontario, along with multiple federal and provincial agencies, continue to discuss the fire situation and potential evacuations. Approximately 200 people were evacuated from Kee-way-win First Nation to Greenstone today.

The fire north of Ear Falls has slowed efforts by Hydro One crews working to restore power to communities. The fire has taken out another section of the power poles on Monday, resulting in power outages in Pickle Lake which has declared a state of emergency as a result of the situation.

Evacuations are underway for Fort Hope, and North Spirit Lake First Nation with families going to Greenstone. Residents of Sandy Lake First Nation are in Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout, due to heavy smoke in their communities.

Environment Canada is calling for hot temperatures to continue for several more days.