Northwestern Ontario Wildfire Update – May 17 2016

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Wildfire Restrictions Remain in Effect heading to the busy first long weekend of the spring season
Wildfire Restrictions Remain in Effect heading to the busy first long weekend of the spring season

Restricted Fire Zone Remains

KENORA – WILDFIRE UPDATE – The Restricted Fire Zone remains in effect across the Northwest Region. When keeping a restricted fire zone in place, managers consider all of the risks, including what the forest fire hazard is in the region, not just local conditions; what the potential is for that fire hazard to increase; and what the firefighting capabilities are in the region to fight existing fires and respond to new ones.

Long Weekend Likely to See Restricted Fire Zone Conditions

The forest fire hazard is forecast to climb in the coming days to high and even extreme in the region. Two active forest fires in Kenora and Red Lake have significant commitments of FireRangers. In addition, Ontario has provided resources to Alberta to assist with the extreme wildfire situation they are dealing with in that province. Recently, despite the restricted fire zone in place, a number of new human-caused fires have occurred in the region.

There were four new fires confirmed by the afternoon of May 17 in the Northwest Region and one new fire confirmed by day’s end on May 16. The fires were in the districts of Kenora, Nipigon and Red Lake and two were out within a day and one was listed as being held.

The fire hazard for May 18 is high across the western sectors of the region and moderate to high in the eastern sectors. This hazard is forecast to rise across the region through the week, reaching extreme along the Manitoba/Ontario border by the weekend.

Fire crews continue to make good progress containing Kenora Fire 018 and all road restrictions on this fire will be lifted by the evening of May 17.

Red Lake Fire 003 which is listed as not under control and is straddling the border between Ontario and Manitoba. The fire is 75,000 hectares in size. This total includes both the Manitoba and Ontario portions of the fire.

The recent cooler weather has allowed the Incident Management Team in charge of this fire to position Type 1 and Type 2 firefighting crews at strategic locations on the fire as they gear up for increasing fire hazards on the fire.

Aircraft flight restrictions over Red Lake fire

There are Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) advisories in place for Red Lake District Fire Number 003 and Manitoba Fire 013 regarding flight operations over the fires, including the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park area west of Red Lake. Pilots can access the information for the Red Lake advisories here and view a map of the restricted areas below.

Aircraft requiring authorization to enter or depart the NOTAM area can contact the following:

Manitoba Area

Lac Du Bonnet Fire Centre – 204-345-1414 or 204-277-5450

Ontario Area

Red Lake Fire Management Headquarters – 807-727-2055

Firefighting aircraft are using and monitoring VHF-AM Frequency 122.40 within both restricted flight areas.

Out of Province

 

In addition to 87 staff members already in Alberta, Ontario plans to send another 79 personnel, including fire crews and overhead staff to Alberta. They are set to deploy on May 18. Ontario has also sent some equipment to Manitoba to aid with values protection. Ontario will retain adequate resources to continue fighting fires in this province while supporting Alberta with additional personnel.

For more information about the current fire situation, the active fires map and the restricted fire zones go to ontario.ca/forestfire

To view the Restricted Fire Zone Map online go to this page and from the Select Layers menu click on show Restricted Fire Zones.

The Northwest Region Fire Information Hotline is available for general information updates – 1-888-258-8842

Kenora Fire 018 Public Information – 807-548-1919

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park – 807-727-1329

Report forest fires by calling 310-FIRE (3473).

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