Northwestern Ontario Wildfire Update – May 21 2016

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Forest Fire Report
MNRF Water Bomber at Pickle Lake Airport
MNRF Water Bomber at Pickle Lake Airport

THUNDER BAY – WILDFIRE Update – There was one new confirmed by the afternoon of May 21 in the Northwest Region. It is a grass fire in the Kenora District listed as not under control at 0.1 hectares in size.

There were two new fires confirmed by day’s end on May 20 in the Northwest Region. Dryden District Fire Number 011 was a lightning-caused fire, now out. Sioux Lookout District Fire Number 005 is now out at 1.0 hectare in size.

The fire hazard is forecast to rise to extreme in the western and northern sectors of the region and high in the east.

The Restricted Fire Zone remains in effect across the Northwest Region as shown on this map  

Fireworks and Restricted Fire Zones

The Forest Fires Prevention Act addresses fireworks in Section 30. This section states, “No person who discharges a firearm, a flare, fireworks or explosives in or within 300 metres of a forest area shall leave any residue from the discharge unextinguished.”

Therefore, any person who sets off fireworks is responsible if any hot residue results in a fire. Also, there may be municipal by-laws regarding the use of fireworks. Suggested measures to promote safe use of fireworks include:

  • Attend an organized fireworks venue instead of setting off your own
  • Choose a fire safe area to ignite fireworks that is free of flammable materials
  • Always supply adult supervision
  • Launch fireworks over an area free of flammable material, i.e., gravel, body of water
  • Have fire suppression equipment on hand
  • When completed, check the area for any hot residue and ensure it is put out.

Out of Province

On May 22, eighty Ontario personnel will be returning from Alberta, having completed their maximum deployment time from May 06. On May 18, an additional 78 FireRangers and overhead staff were deployed to Alberta and will remain. Ontario is keeping adequate resources to continue fighting fires in this province while supporting Alberta.

Kenora 018

Crews continue to make excellent progress containing Kenora Fire 18. The fire remains at 5,829 ha. The residents evacuated around Caddy Lake, Macara Lake, Longpine Lake, Rice Lake and West Hawk Lake are able to return to their properties. All travel restrictions to these areas have been lifted.

The evacuation is still in effect for the Nora and Florence Lake area. Daily danger assessments are being conducted on Flora road, residents will be notified of when they can return. With a wind event in the forecast for Sunday the risk of falling trees is still high.

With temperatures and relative humidity in the 20s, we may see a more active fire within the perimeter. Residents can expect to see smoke in the area as crews continue suppression efforts towards the interior of the fire.

Red Lake 03

This fire is being managed with a modified response approach which combines ground crew suppression at strategic locations on the fire using Type 1 and Type 2 firefighting crews, helicopter bucketing on hot spots, aerial heavy water bomber attack when needed and an Ignition specialist team which can fight fire with fire by burning off carefully plotted parts of the fire to bring it down to natural boundaries. Values protection equipment has also be placed on values in both the north and south of the fire.

Fire behaviour continues to be challenging on this fire which is approximately 75,000 hectares (63,109 hectares in Ontario within Woodland Caribou Provincial Park). The area contains storm damaged and insect killed forests which burn with high intensity. The fire perimeter contains long fingers of burned and unburned forest fuels which can making controlling the fire difficult.

There are 17 Type 1 FireRanger crews and 15 Type 2 crews on the fire as well as medium and intermediate helicopters.

Aircraft flight restrictions over Red Lake fire

There is a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) advisory in place for Red Lake District Fire Number 003 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 . Aircraft requiring authorization to enter or depart the NOTAM area can contact the following: Red Lake Fire Management Headquarters  – 807-727-2055 Firefighting aircraft are using and monitoring VHF-AM Frequency 122.40 within both restricted flight areas.

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.

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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