Forest Fire situation ramping up in Northwestern Ontario


Forest Fire UpdateTHUNDER BAY – In many parts of Thunder Bay on Saturday the smell of smoke is in the air. Ontario is continuing to add new forest fires at a fast clip on Friday July 20. It is suspected that the smoke is coming from a fire near Quetico Park.

There were 35 new starts confirmed in the province. Busy districts included North Bay, Sault Ste. Mare and Sudbury in the Northeast Region and Sioux Lookout in the Northwest Region. Lightning continued to account for most new fires, although a considerable amount of human-caused fires were confirmed. The number of active fires in the province has now increased to 121.

The MNR reports, “There no new fires confirmed by the time this report was prepared on July 20. However, new fires may be confirmed later this evening. By the end of the day on July 19 there were 4 new fires confirmed in northwestern Ontario.

There are numerous active fires around the communities of Deer Lake, Kee-Way-Win and Sandy Lake. An Incident Management Team is in place and will be managing the Deer Lake / Kee-Way-Win Complex.

There is a cluster of fires south of Cat Lake and another cluster of fires south of Weagamow. These fires are not threatening either community at this time.

There is the potential for smoky conditions in far north communities but that depends greatly on the direction of the wind at any given time as evidenced in the city today.

In the Pembroke area, a significant fire located on the training grounds of CFB Petawawa increased in size to 200 hectares on Friday. Crews from the Canadian Forces worked on containing the fire on the ground while waterbombers from Ontario and Quebec provided support from the air. The fire had not crossed into Algonquin Park as of Friday, though it had approached to within approximately 300 metres of the park’s eastern boundary.

Reports of smoke have been received from the northern communities of Deer Lake, Sandy Lake and Weagamow. There are a considerable number of fires in Ontario’s Far North and also in northern Manitoba that could be the source of this smoke. Representatives from MNR and Emergency Management Ontario are in close contact with officials in the communities. The potential for smoke impacts will be assessed on an on-going basis throughout the weekend.

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