THUNDER BAY – The Ministry of Natural Resources report, “Friday May 25 was another challenging day for forest fires in the Northeast Region. Existing fires continued to show active behaviour and several continued to spread. There were also 14 new fires confirmed, all of them in the Northeast Region. Currently, there are 46 active fires burning in the province”.
“Gusting winds fuelled the ongoing spread of fire Timmins 9. The blaze is now listed at 41,210 hectares. Winds from the west caused the fire to begin crossing Highway 144 on Friday afternoon. Waterbombers had to be pulled off the fire due to the winds and poor visibility. However, there was good news as the evacuation order for Kamiskotia was lifted on Friday evening. Three hundred people were allowed to return to their homes. All other evacuation orders remain in effect”.
“Timmins 9 did cross Hwy 144. The fire has not crossed Hwy 101. No evacuations have been declared today and the evacuation order for the residents of Kamiskotia was been lifted by Timmins Mayor Laughren. Residents of the Kamiskotia area are allowed back to their homes. All other evacuation notices remain in place”.
The City of Timmins has set up an Information Centre in the McIntyre Arena in Schumacher.
The Information Centre is open to the public to access current information.
Values protection continues on the fire by FireRanger crews, and over 500 sprinklers have been installed on values. Fire crews continue to arrive on this fire daily to assist with efforts. An MNR Incident Management Team is also on-site.
Timmins remains in a state of emergency.
In Kirkland Lake, strong winds also fuelled the activity of Kirkland Lake 13. The fire is now listed at a size of 777 hectares. Bulldozers and heavy equipment worked on Friday to establish lines around the perimeter of the fire, however it did show some spread towards Highway 65.
Fire Kirkland Lake 8 was also active but did not add any growth. The fire has now been re-mapped at 2,635 hectares, down slightly from its previous size of 2,757. The evacuation orders relating to this fire remain in effect but will be reviewed on Saturday May 26. FireRanger crews are checking on structures near the fire on a daily basis.
In Wawa, the major fire Wawa 4 was declared “Being Held.” The fire has not spread beyond its current size of 3,300 hectares. However in Hearst, fire Hearst 9 has now reached 600 hectares.
Fire arrivals will likely continue to be steady in the Northeast on Saturday due to continued dry fuel conditions but the weather outlook is becoming more favourable. Winds are easing and shifting to an easterly direction and cooler temperatures and increasing humidity are being forecasted. This will help decrease fire behaviour on existing fires and new starts.
On Sunday, a warm front will bring significant precipitation into the region. This system is expected to linger for several days, leaving most of the area of concern under cloud cover and periods of rain. These conditions will assist FireRangers with their fire suppression work.
Smoke from the Timmins and Kirkland Lake fires remains a concern. Shifting wind today will push the smoke to the south and the west. Smoke was also reported in the Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma region on Friday but this was from forest fires burning in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
There are now considerable resources in the province to address the fire situation in the northeast. There are 102 personnel from British Columbia who will be deploying to the field today. Waterbombers from Newfoundland and Manitoba are also assisting in the province. In total, approximately 1,300 people are working on the provincial fire situation.
Aircraft resources currently include 15 CL-415 waterbombers, four Twin Otter medium waterbombers and 77 helicopters.