Northwestern Ontario Wildfire Update – May 18 2016

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Forest Fire Report

THUNDER BAY – Heading into the Victoria Day long weekend, Northwestern Ontario remains under a Restricted Fire Zone.

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.

The forest fire hazard is forecast to climb in the coming days to 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 was one new fire confirmed by the afternoon of May 18 in the Northwest Region. Dryden Fire Number 10 has been declared out at 0.1 hectares.

The fire hazard 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.

Crews continue to make excellent progress containing Kenora Fire 18. The perimeter is 85 per cent contained, and there is no expectation of further growth on the perimeter of the fire. The fire remains at 5,829 ha.

Residents around Caddy Lake, Macara Lake, Longpine Lake, Rice Lake and West Hawk Lake were able to return to their properties today, effective 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. All travel restrictions to these areas have been lifted.

Warmer temperatures will start to bring more active fire behaviour within the perimeter of the fire this week. Residents can expect to see smoke in the area as crews continue suppression efforts towards the interior of the fire.

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. There were structures lost on the northwest corner of the fire on May 7th and 10th. The total structures lost were three cabins and two sheds.

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.

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

Ontario has deployed another 78 FireRangers and overhead staff to Alberta, which puts the total number of personnel in that province at 165. They were sent out the afternoon of May 18. Ontario also has equipment in 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 select Restricted Fire Zones as a layer.

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

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park – 807-727-1329

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

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