by Chris Marchand
THUNDER BAY – WILDFIRE UPDATE – There were no new fires in the region by mid-afternoon, July 20. There are 77 active fires in the region, 65 of which are either under observation, being held or under control.
Smoke concerns in Wabaseemoong
Chief and Council of Wabaseemoong Independent Nation, also known as the community of Whitedog, made a decision to evacuate 70-80 vulnerable persons (children, elders and those with respiratory problems) due to air quality concerns as a result of smoke drift from Kenora Fire 71, July 19. The community members spent the night at Rat Portage First Nation and are expected to return to Wabaseemoong when air quality improves. The Kenora Fire 71 is located approximately 26 kilometres north of the community and is not a direct threat to the community at this time. Those with urgent health concerns due to air quality can contact Tele-Health Ontario at 1-888-797-0000.
Emergency Area Order for Kenora Fire 71
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is advising the public of an Emergency Area Order for the area around Kenora Fire 71 to ensure public safety. As a result, the order restricts travel on Werner Lake Rd. as well as Crown land use and travel within the boundaries of the EAO.
Kenora Fire 71 Update
With the nearest weather station at Separation Lake showing just 1.8mm of overnight rainfall, Kenora Fire 71 has remained active. A basecamp at Minaki is expected to become operational over the weekend and will soon become a staging area for a full suppression effort involving upwards of 25 crews from all over the country and the Great Lakes region of the U.S.
Crews have been successful thus far in protecting structures out on the landscape with sprinkler units and the process continues of moving crews out to the fire to get established.
Ontario Parks restricts access in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park
Several large forest fires in Woodland Caribou Park have necessitated some restrictions on backcountry travel. Ontario Parks is restricting access to some canoe routes as well as access to a number of lakes. You can find more details at ontarioparks.com.
Fire hazard in the Northwest Region
The fire hazard is currently low across the western part of the region, moving into a band of moderate hazard as you move east towards Thunder Bay and progressing to a high hazard in the Terrace Bay area and the southern portion of the Nipigon district.
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 icon.
Fire numbers and online information:
- Forest Fire Reporting Number – 310-FIRE (3473)
- Twitter account