09:45EDT May 26 2012 – Kirkland Lake Fire Update

fight fire
Photo by Derek Tessier courtesy of MNR
THUNDER BAY – The forest fire situation across Northeastern Ontario remains extreme. A fire is burning on the outskirts of Kirkland Lake where 300 residents have been evacuated. MNR Information Officer Heather Pridham has reported that firefighters are optimistic after some serious challenges in terms of weather and fire behaviour.

The main fire north of Kirkland Lake has slowed its burning. There has been no additional growth of the fire overnight.

The fire was remapped yesterday and was reduced from 2757 to 2635 hectares in size. The southern most point of the fire remains 3 km north of Kirkland Lake stretching up 10 km to the Ferguson Lake area. Heavy equipment will continue to work on breaking up slash piles at the south end of the fire near Elsie Lake. Heavy smoke from a large fire near Timmins has lifted, but Pridham says our area may continue to experience smokey conditions from that fire for the next few days, but it is not expected to be as heavy as Friday. Fifteen MNR crews are assigned to the main fire north of Kirkland Lake with a large amount of aircraft support in the area. The area received two mm of rain on Friday.

No additional rainfall is expected today however, but there are rain-showers are in the forecast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Kirkland Lake Fire # 13 between Elk Lake and Matachewan is now listed as 1300-1500 hectares in size. OPP temporarily closed highway 65 on Friday while firefighters battled the blaze. MNR crews will continue their efforts on Kirkland Lake #13 today.

Kirkland Lake Fire 13 (Located Northwest of Elk Lake) Community Update

The following information was provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources on Saturday, May 26:

Evacuation Update for KLK 13: People staying at Golden Eagle Lake camp were evacuated on May 24th and relocated to Elk Cabins, located on the Montreal River

Kirkland Lake Fire # 13 Update:

  • This fire is estimated to be between 1300 and 1500ha, it was very difficult to get an exact size of this fire because of the reduced visibility due to smoke;
  • It is located between Elk Lake and Matachewan;
  • Heavy CL-415 Water Bombers were utilized on this fire but the fire continued to grow due to the strong westerly winds of May 25;
  • 6 bulldozers have been assigned to this fire to build a fire guard around the rear and up the flanks for the fire, this will help stop the spread of the fire;
  • There are 3 FireRanger crews assigned to this fire with more on their way;
  • 2 Helicopters are assigned to this fire;
  • More resources will be assigned to this fire once the Kirkland Lake Complex Incident Management Team assesses the fire tomorrow.

Road Closures:

HWY 65 was closed temporarily in the evening of May 25 by OPP for public safety;
The highway was closed at Elk Lake and at the other end at Matachewan;
Evacuation / Road Closures, OPP Communications centre 1-888-310-1122.

Values Protection: Values Protection has been setup on Golden Eagle Lake camp

Orders and Restrictions: A Restricted Fire Zone is still in place for Northeastern Ontario, this RFZ was implemented on May 16 2012

Smoke:

Smoke in the Kirkland Lake and surrounding area is primarily from the Timmins 9 fire.
KLK 8 is producing minimal smoke at this time, primarily within the interior of the burn as unburned fuels are consumed.
For information on smoke and health related questions: Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000

It should be noted that the Incident Management Team that is assigned to KLK 8 is now also assigned to KLK 13. This is now known as the Kirkland Lake Complex IMT because there is more that 1 fire being actioned.

Ministry of Natural Resources crews are defending property and infrastructure. For information about evacuation associated with this fire, residents are to contact the Kirkland Lake Municipal Office at (705) 567-9365 ext. 221.

194 people from the Mattagami First Nation and many other people have been evacuated from within the area of the Timmins fire.

Sections of highways 101 and 144 continue to be affected:

• Highway 144 is closed between Highway 661 and Highway 101

• Highway 101 is closed between Foleyet and Hwy 144 junction

Travellers are advised to call the Ministry of Transportation information line on highway closures at 1-800-268-4686.

Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 may be contacted for any smoke and health related questions. In Timmins, health related questions can be directed to the Porcupine Health Unit at (705) 267-1181.