Northwestern Ontario Wildfire Update – May 30 2016

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Two USFS BAE-146 retardant air tankers began air attack on Kenora Fire 018 on the afternoon of May 10 as part of a quick-strike agreement between Ontario, Manitoba, the U.S and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.
Two USFS BAE-146 retardant air tankers began air attack on Kenora Fire 018 on the afternoon of May 10 as part of a quick-strike agreement between Ontario, Manitoba, the U.S and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.
Two USFS BAE-146 retardant air tankers began air attack on Kenora Fire 018 on the afternoon of May 10 as part of a quick-strike agreement between Ontario, Manitoba, the U.S and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.
Two USFS BAE-146 retardant air tankers began air attack on Kenora Fire 018 on the afternoon of May 10 as part of a quick-strike
agreement between Ontario, Manitoba, the U.S and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.

Restricted Fire Zone Ended in Northwestern Ontario

THUNDER BAY – Wet weather over the weekend has led to the lifting of fire restrictions in both Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario.

A Restricted Fire Zone that has been in place across Northwestern Ontario, except the far north, has been lifted effective 06:00 p.m. May 30. The cooperation of people during this extended fire restriction has helped the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program deal with major wildland fires that threatened people, property and industry.

For Thunder Bay, Fire Rescue has re-instated all of the valid burning permits. A statement from Thunder Bay Fire Rescue says, “With the improvement of conditions Thunder Bay Fire Rescue has lifted the City wide fire ban previously in place. All valid outdoor burning permits have been reinstated. Residents are reminded that permit rules and regulations are strictly enforced and failure to obtain a permit will result in prosecution and fine.”

  • Across the District, during the fire restriction a number of people did violate the Restricted Fire Zone and as a result have received warnings and fines.
  • Outdoor fires are now allowed but people are urged to use caution.
  • There is no daytime burning of brush or grass.
  • Check out ca/fireprevention for guidelines on safe outdoor fire management.
  • If you live in an organized municipality, check with local officials about bylaws on burning

There were no new fires confirmed by the afternoon of May 30 in the Northwest Region.

  • Red 003 remains at a status of not under control. An Incident Management Team is managing this fire. Forty fire fighters from British Columbia are currently assigned to Red 03.
  • Nipigon 15 about 11 kilometers East of Lansdowne House is not under control at 145 hectares. It is receiving a modified response were firefighters are placed in strategic locations on the fire – in this case the west and north sections. It also received about 20 millimeters of rain on the weekend.
  • Nipigon 13 near the Geraldton airport is under control
  • Thunder Bay 19 is listed as being held, and fire fighters from Wisconsin are currently deployed there.
  • Kenora 18 is under control and personnel are in the process of demobilizing resources.

Provincial Firefighting Resources – Out of Province

Ontario provides firefighting resources outside of the province, and when needed brings in resources from other provinces, the territories or the United States.

Firefighting resources in Canada, including personnel, aircraft and equipment, are shared through formal agreement and coordinated by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center in Winnipeg.

Canada also has agreements in place to share resources for fire suppression with the United States. One such agreement is through the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact made up of three US states and two provincial natural resource agencies to promote effective prevention, pre-suppression and control of forest fires in the Great Lakes Region of the United States and adjacent areas of Canada.

  • 131 fire response personnel are in Ontario supporting the firefighting effort. They are from British Columbia, Newfoundland and Wisconsin
  • Saskatchewan heavy water bomber and Birddog team will be released from Ontario to return home
  • Two flight coordinators from Ontario have been deployed to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre in Winnipeg to assist in coordinating national aircraft for interprovincial / international movements of firefighting staff.
  • Ontario has 85 personnel deployed to Alberta

Emergency Area Orders – Travel Restrictions

Red Lake Fire 003: Travel restrictions for Red 003 were removed at 08:30 a.m. on Monday, May 30. Travel is now allowed on the Iriam Loop Road including all Branch Roads off the Iriam Loop Road.

Thunder Bay Fire 019: An emergency area order is in place over Thunder Bay 019. Until further notice, all travel and use is prohibited on the Dog River Road northward from the junction of the Dog River Road and Sideen Road; the Dog River Road southward from the junction of the Dog River Road and the Chismore Road, and the Pakashkan Road southward from the junction of the Pakashkan Road and the Chismore Road. Also, all use and occupation of Crown Land on or within 500 meters of the described closed roads noted above within this area is prohibited.

Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles around Forest Fires

We remind the public that flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) around forest fires is both dangerous and illegal. When you fly a UAV or drone near a forest fire you can put the lives of pilots, firefighters and other emergency workers at risk. The delays and distractions associated with having one of these aircraft in the area could also put the lives of the public and the safety of their homes at risk when a forest fire is being actioned.  Always think safety first and keep your UAV or drone away from forest fires. The following are the airspace restrictions for all aircraft over forest fires.

Forest Fire Aircraft Operating Restrictions

601.15 No person shall operate an aircraft

  • (a)over a forest fire area, or over any area that is located within five nautical miles of a forest fire area, at an altitude of less than 3,000 feet AGL; or
  • (b)in any airspace that is described in a NOTAM issued pursuant to section 601.16.

Transport Canada is responsible for regulating the use of UAVs and keeping the public and our airspace safe. If an incident is reported to the department, one of Transport Canada’s inspectors will verify that the operator followed the rules and whether the UAV safety guidelines were followed and fines could be as much as 25,000 dollars or imprisonment. Local police may also be involved if other laws were broken, including the Criminal Code and privacy laws.

Safe operation of UAVs information can be found on Transport Canada’s Website.

In Canada, the official designation for unmanned aircraft is Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) however Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), drones, etc. were used in the past, now collectively these designations are classified as UAV’s.  The actual flying aircraft may still be called UAV, ROA, RPA, drone, etc. by the general public, operators and users. With more and more people flying UAV’s commercially or simply for the fun of flying, the exposure to possible airspace incursions involving an UAV have increased.

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 and the active fires map go to ontario.ca/forestfire

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

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

 

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