by Deb MacLean
THUNDER BAY – The Northwest region is getting multiple news fire starts daily, often requiring multiple crews and air attack. Suppression activities continue with good progress being made and many of the remote fires are being monitored as they burn to natural boundaries like rivers and lakes. FireRangers are a mobile firefighting force and move between districts and regions to provide support to the areas with the most fire activity and highest fire risk.
There will be varying fire hazards in the region over the weekend as rain is forecast, but it is also expected to be followed by clear weather which will raise the fire hazard again quickly. To track the fire hazards and to see a complete list of fires across the province click on our interactive map. You can also get the latest update on the condition of any fire by clicking the fire icons.
There were nine new fires confirmed in the region by the afternoon of August 4 in the districts of Nipigon, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay.
There were 14 confirmed fires by day’s end on August 3 in the region including five in the Nipigon District, one in the Red Lake District, four in the Sioux Lookout District and four in the Thunder Bay District.
The majority of the new fires are caused by lightning.
Sioux Lookout District has 29 active fires, including five new by early afternoon. The largest of the active fires, southwest of Pickle Lake, is being held at 119 hectares in size with many others being observed. An additional five crews have been deployed to the Sioux Lookout District to help with the large geographical spread of the recent fire action. Low humidity and lightning strikes have been the main cause of the new fires as far north as the Kingfisher Lake area, and to the south between Mishkeegogamang and the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen. Weather conditions are expected to become drier with more potential for lightning caused fires over the next few days
Out of Province Deployment
- Currently there are over 300 staff supporting the province of British Columbia in their fire management efforts.
- Ontario, as part of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact (GLFFC) including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin has formed international crews of firefighters currently deployed to British Columbia.
- Ontario is maintaining a significant number of firefighting staff on the ground in British Columbia to help support ongoing firefighting efforts.
- This is being done while also ensuring we have the necessary firefighting personnel here at home and are responding to the significant forest fire activity in Northwest Ontario.
The public is urged to take an active role in preventing more fires. This can be done by not burning when it is windy, monitoring your fire and ensuring that you have water nearby to extinguish your fire. As a reminder, there is no day burning of brush and grass.
Planning to have a campfire?
Here are some tips on how to safely enjoy your campfire and avoid the costs and dangers that can arise from an unextinguished or unattended campfire:
- Choose your site carefully. Select a site with easy access to water that is sheltered from high winds. The fire must be built on bare rock or non-combustible material.
- Prepare the site. Clear a one metre space around your campfire site and remove all pine needles, grasses, leaves and twigs.
- Keep your fire small. By law, your campfire cannot exceed one metre in height and one metre in diameter.
- Stay nearby. Never leave your campfire unattended.
- Put your fire out. Soak your fire with water.
- Be sure the fire is extinguished. Stir the ashes with a stick to uncover hot coals and then soak it again!
Ontario has increased the maximum fines for individuals and corporations for starting forest fires.
Increased Fines for Starting a Forest Fire
‘Ontario Strengthens Law to Deter Forest Fires’
Fire numbers and online information:
- Forest Fire Reporting Number – 310-FIRE (3473)
- Follow us on Twitter: in English @ONForestFires or in French @ONFeuDeForêt
- For guidelines on safe outdoor fire management ontario.ca/fireprevention