Forest Fire Situation Update – Northwest Region – August 18, 2017

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An Incident Management Team is in place to manage the fire and limit its spread toward the community of Nibinamik to the south.
Sioux Lookout District Fire Number 123 located in the Lac Suel Island Conservation Reserve. The fire is being monitored without suppression in order to promote ecological regeneration on the landscape. Members of the public are advised to maintain a safe distance from the fire until the fire has been called out and public notification signs have been removed. For more information please call the NWR Fire Information Officer @ 807-937-7335.
Sioux Lookout District Fire Number 123 located in the Lac Suel Island Conservation Reserve. The fire is being monitored without suppression in order to promote ecological regeneration on the landscape. Members of the public are advised to maintain a safe distance from the fire until the fire has been called out and public notification signs have been removed. For more information please call the NWR Fire Information Officer @ 807-937-7335.

Ten New Fires Confirmed

THUNDER BAY – There were 4 confirmed new fires by the afternoon of August 18th in the Northwest Region and 10 new fires confirmed by day’s end on August 17th. There are a total of 153 active fires in the NWR in various states of suppression as of August 18th. Scattered rainfall has assisted with suppression operations; however, fires continue to burn deep and require extensive effort by fire crews to extinguish.

Areas of concern include NIP 029, NIP 099 and the Big Trout Lake (KI) complex.

NIP 029, 20 km north of Nibinamik and 30 km East of Wunnumin Lake, is currently at 5998 hectares. Many of the lightning-caused fires are occurring in close proximity to each other in this area, as a result of storm systems. The Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services program has established an incident management team out of Nibinamik First Nation to assist in fire suppression. On August 11th, aerial ignition specialists conducted a successful burnout operation to bring the fire’s edge out to natural boundaries. Five helicopters have been assigned to the fire and ten types 1 crews are in place establishing hose lines along the perimeter. Smoke concentrations levels are expected to remain high in the Nibinamik area over the coming days.

Due to a power outage and smoke issues a decision was made by the community to evacuate residents to the host town of Kapuskasing. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) coordinated commercial aircraft for the evacuation. MNRF coordinates its response with the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management via the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre which continues to work with community leaders, federal departments, non-government organizations and provincial government ministries to support the community.

Nipigon District Fire Number 099 is a lightning-caused fire that started on August 12 northeast of Nipigon in the Kama Hill area. Immediate response was done on the fire with a helitack crew from Greenstone Fire Management Headquarters and waterbombers that worked the fire until dark. Additional crews were sent to the fire but despite aggressive suppression efforts, the extremely dry conditions and rocky terrain hindered those efforts. Sustained air attack throughout the day held the spread of the fire to about 400 hectares by the evening of August 13 and despite a fairly quiet day on August 14 the fire is an estimated 531 hectares in size.  An Incident Management Team is established on the fire, working out of Nipigon. There are four helicopters and fourteen FireRanger crews assigned to this fire. A travel advisory has been issued requesting the public’s cooperation staying off of the Camp 81 road.  Fire crews, heavy equipment and air resources are currently responding to Nipigon Fire 99 in this vicinity.

A complex of nine fires near the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) are being actioned by crews under the supervision of an onsite incident management team. These fires remain under a few hectares, with no anticipated issues.

Other northern First Nation communities with fire management resources on site to manage fires include Deer Lake, Wunnumin Lake, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Sandy Lake.

A fire is being monitored on Lac Seul in the Sioux Lookout District. SIO 123 is being managed under the Lac Seul Conservation Reserve Fire Response Plan to restore and maintain the ecosystem on the island. This fire is within the Lac Seul Islands Conservation Reserve and is not being extinguished in order to achieve the ecological benefits of natural fire on the landscape. Signs are posted on the island alerting the public to the fire situation and advising the public to keep a safe distance away from the island until the fire has been called out and all signs have been removed. Please call the NWR Fire Information Officer @ 807-937-7335 for more information.

Nipigon District Fire Number 029. Several bodies of water exist between Nibinimak and NIP 029, the fire burning 20km north of the community. These natural boundaries help with fire containment and provide a water source for heli-bucket operations. 

Travel Advisory

In order to ensure firefighter and public safety the Ministry of Natural Resources  is requesting the public’s cooperation staying off of the Camp 81 road.  Fire crews, heavy equipment and air resources are currently responding to Nipigon Fire 99 in this vicinity.  Wildfire behavior is unpredictable, and local conditions can change very quickly.  In addition to increased traffic there may be heavy smoke and reduced visibility on local roads.

Individuals travelling the Camp 81 Road may encounter closures to some spur roads (e.g. Main Road 7) to ensure safety and support fire suppression.  Recreational users may want to consider alternate routes like the Lachance or Gorge Creek roads instead.

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.

Minnesota has provided a Tactical Aircraft capable of air attack or transport as required.

Out of Province Deployment

  • Currently there are 20 staff supporting the province of British Columbia in their fire management efforts.
  • Ontario continues to have 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.

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

Fire numbers and online information:

  • Forest Fire Reporting Number –  310-FIRE (3473)

Contact List

Morgan Reilly
NWR Fire Information Officer
Northwest Region Forest Fire Management Centre – Dryden
807-937-7335
morgan.reilly@ontario.ca

Jamie Scrimger
Fire Information Officer – Nipigon Fire
Greenstone Fire Management Headquarters – Geraldton
807-853-0613 – cell
jamie.scrimger@ontario.ca

Tanya Kienapple
NER Info Officer
NER Forest Fire Management Centre – Sudbury
705-564-6156
tanya.kienapple@ontario.ca

Report by Morgan Reilly

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