THUNDER BAY – Heading into the Victoria Day Long Weekend, weather conditions are set to be warm across Northwestern Ontario. 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 were two new fires confirmed by the afternoon of May 19 in the Northwest Region. Fort Frances Fire Number 5 is not under control at 0.9 hectares. Thunder Bay Fire Number 17 is under control at 0.5 hectares.
The fire hazard is high across the Northwest Region.
Crews continue to make excellent progress consolidating the perimeter of the fire; however, the fire remains listed as not under control at 5,829 ha in size.
While Kenora Fire 18 continues to respond well to suppression efforts, there is still a lot of work to be done to fully contain this fire. Crews are actioning hot spots identified through infrared scanning along the entire perimeter and within the interior of the fire.
Although there is no expectation that the fire will grow outside of its current perimeter, fire conditions and behaviour can change quickly. Residents are reminded to remain vigilant, and to stay clear of all fire crew operations and fire perimeter areas.
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. Suppression resources continue to arrive on this fire and are being strategically placed on the fire line.
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:
Lac Du Bonnet Fire Centre – 204-345-1414 or 204-277-5450
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).