Northwest Fire District – August 5, 2021 – Wildfire Update

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Mill in Dryden
Domtar Mill in Dryden

Thunder Bay – Wildfire Update – A quieter day on the wildfire front. There were two new fires reported today. At the time of this update there were 119 active fires in the northwest region. A total of 18 fires are not under control, nine fires are being held, 13 fires are under control and 79 fires are being observed.

  • Two new fires were discovered in the northwest region by the late afternoon of Aug. 5.
    • Dryden 115 is located near the eastern shore of Indian Lake, approximately 12 kilometres north of Ignace. The 0.1 hectare fire is under control.
    • Fort Frances 120 is located near Argo Lake amidst the large cluster of fires in Quetico Provincial Park. The 27 hectare fire is being observed.
  • AFFES is currently responding to many fires on the landscape. Stay informed of the location, size, status of all active wildland fires in the province on the interactive fire map at Ontario.ca/forestfire.  
  • The wildland fire hazard in the northwest region is mainly low to moderate with areas of high hazard persisting in the Fort Frances, Dryden, and Thunder Bay sectors.

Fires of Note:

Checkpoint at Wabaseemoong First Nation
Checkpoint at Wabaseemoong First Nation

Kenora 51 – fire of note to Wabaseemoong

  • The fire is sized at 197,549 hectares and remains 20 km north of Wabaseemong community on the northern side of Umfreville Lake.
  • Little rain fell on the southern part of the fire with more significant precipitation in the north. This has diminished fire activity, but is not expected to have a long term effect due to persistent drought conditions.
  • Prior to the rain, ignition teams had success bringing the fire to natural boundaries. They will resume when drier conditions prevail.
  • Waterbombers prevented the western side of the fire growing significantly and helicopters with buckets slowed the eastern side. Low cloud is restricting air attack today.
  • Bulldozers are continuing to construct an access road and fire guard on the eastern side of Wabaseemoong. Community protection efforts continue.
  • The evacuation efforts in the community continue.

Red Lake 51– fire of concern to Deer Lake

  • The fire is being observed/modified response – 52,106 ha – 24 km west of Deer Lake
  • Deer Lake weather station reported 15 mm of rain overnight.
  • Fire behaviour was smoldering with visible smoke and some open flame.
  • Priorities are focused on protection of Deer Lake.
  • Crews continue to work on the east flank.

 

Red Lake 65 – fire of concern to Poplar Hill

  • The fire is not under control – 19,796 ha – 6 km west of Poplar Hill
  • Poplar Hill weather station reported 23 mm of rain overnight.
    Fire behaviour remains quiet with smoldering and some visible smoke.
  • Priorities are focused on protection of Poplar Hill.
  • Crews continue to make good progress on east side of the spot fire.

 

Red Lake 77– fire of concern to Red Lake

  • The fire is not under control – 27,899 ha – 33 km west of Red Lake
  • Fire behaviour was generally decreased to smoldering and some open flame due to smoke cover, with some interior burning causing smoky conditions.
  • Fireguard continues to be built east of the fire, heavy equipment is making good progress.
  • Crews continue to establish hose lines working on the north east edge of the fire. Heli-buckets assisted at the end of the day. Additional crews were put onto the northeast edge at the end of the day.

Sioux Lookout 60 – fire of concern to Cat Lake First Nation  

  • The fire is 1,487 hectares and located 8 kilometres west of the community.
  • The fire’s status has changed to under control.
  • The fire displayed limited activity in recent days due to weather conditions.
  • Community protection efforts are ongoing.
  • Crews are assigned to the fire. More crews will be arriving soon. Crews are establishing hoselines on the fire.  
  • An Incident Management Team is managing the fire. 
  •  

Restrictions to Forest Management Plans and industrial operations in the Northwest Region 

Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services has been advised by NDMNRF Regional Operations Division that restrictions have been imposed with respect to Forest Management Plans and industrial operations in Northwestern Ontario. These restrictions are in effect as of 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on July 21, 2021 until such time as the order is revoked. See map (PDF). 

The following activities governed by an approved Forest Management Plan and associated Annual Work Schedule under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act are prohibited: 

  1. Road Construction including:  
    1. stripping with bulldozer 
    2. blasting without mats 
    3. building, spreading and shaping sub-grade with back hoe/excavator 
  2. Harvesting using the following equipment:  
    1. tracked equipment such as feller-bunchers, or machines with rotary cutting heads 
    2. vehicles with tire chains (i.e. forwarders, skidders) 
    3. mechanized equipment with rubber tires (no chains) (i.e. forwarders, skidders) 
    4. power saw / chainsaw 
  3. Processing:  
    1. delimbing, slashing, portable saw mills 
    2. portable chipping 
    3. power saw / chainsaw 
  4. Silviculture:  
    1. mechanized site preparation 
    2. mechanical tending with chain flails and mowers; hydro-axe; slash piling 
    3. brush saw/chainsaw thinning 
  5. Other:  
    1. hot work: welding, torch cutting and grinding 

The following activities carried out in a forest area as part of an industrial operation as defined under Ontario Regulation 207/96 are prohibited unless carried out as part of emergency maintenance or repairs and all mitigation measures under subsection 19(2) of O. Reg. 207/96 are implemented: 

a) Operation that uses heavy machinery equipped with metal parts that may come into contact with rocks or similar material in the normal course of operation and cause a spark.
b) Stripping of the surface vegetation and forest floor with heavy machinery.
c) Hot work.
d) Rail production grinding.
e) Blasting of rock or soil without use of blasting mats.
f) Switch crossing grinding.
g) Operations using a channel saw where the surface vegetation and forest floor have not been removed up to a distance of at least three metres from the place where the channel saw is being operated on the worksite.
h) Delimbing or slashing felled trees with heavy machinery.
i) Using a portable saw mill.
j) Slash piling.
k) Building, spreading or shaping the sub-grade with a back hoe or excavator.
l) Operation using three or more brush saws.
m) Operation using heavy machinery with rubber tires and no chains.
n) Drilling operation that does not use water as a coolant or flushing agent and that is carried out in an area that has not been cleared of the surface vegetation and forest floor.
o) Induced polarization surveys using a power generator.

For reference, “industrial operations” is defined as follows under Ontario Regulation 207/96: Outdoor Fires: 

·         15. (1) In this Part,
“industrial operations” means any of the following operations that are carried out in a forest area as part of an industrial activity described in subsection (2) and not for personal purposes:
1. Harvesting trees and processing them into log lengths, chips, biofuel or lumber.
2. Clearing land of trees or other vegetation.
3. Operation or use, in a forest area, of machinery with metal parts that, in the normal course of operations, may come into contact with rocks or similar material resulting in the creation of a spark or fire.
4. Hot work.
5. Trenching in areas of forest fuels.
6. The use of explosives in or adjacent to forest fuels.
7. Road construction; 

·         (2) The following are the industrial activities referred to in the definition of “industrial operations” in subsection (1):
1. Timber harvesting and timber processing, unless the harvesting or processing is governed by a Forest Management Plan approved under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994.
2. Mechanical site preparations and other silvicultural treatments, other than those that are governed by a Forest Management Plan approved under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994.
3. Construction and maintenance of electrical power generation facilities.
4. Construction and maintenance of utility corridors, including any infrastructure that is part of the corridors.
5. Construction and maintenance on railway rights of way, including any infrastructure on the rights of way.
6. Peat harvesting.
7. Mining and mineral exploration. 

·         Measures under subsection 19(2) of O. Reg. 207/96:
1. The worksite must be soaked with water or with a fire suppression foam mixture before the operations begin and after the operations are completed for the day and must be kept in a wet condition during operations.
2. At least one worker must be assigned to monitor the worksite while the industrial operations are being carried out to watch for sparks or other signs that a fire has been ignited and to take immediate actions to halt the spread of fire if it is safe to do so.
3. At least one worker must be employed to actively patrol the worksite for at least one hour after the operations are completed for the day and to extinguish any fires he or she may find if it is safe to do so.
4. Workers engaged in monitoring or patrolling a worksite under paragraph 2 or 3 must be equipped with telephones or other devices capable of immediate two-way communication with the local fire management headquarters and ensure that any fire that may occur and is not kept under control is immediately reported to the Ministry.
5. Workers conducting hot work operations must put in place non-combustible screens designed and able to catch any and all material capable of producing fire ignitions. 

·         Contact: Natural Resources Information and Support Centre – NRISC@ontario.ca or   1-800-667-1940

Restrictions due to forest fire activity in the Red Lake District    

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Red Lake District, is advising the public that due to extreme forest fire activity, an Implementation Order is now in effect until further notice that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands.

All travel, use and access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Red Lake District office.

Specifically, all modes of travel and use of the North road, Pineridge Road, Suffel Lake Road, Iriam Road and the portion of Longlegged Road west of the junction of Conifer Road and Longlegged Road.

All modes of travel/access onto Storey lake, Philip lake, Nungesser lake, including the Sahkeesahkahteekoh weesuhkaheegahn (Pringle Lake, Dedicated Protected Area (Ontario Parks)); Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is closed. This includes all access points off Suffel lake Road, Pineridge Road and Iriam Road. Including all modes of travel/access from the Manitoba-Ontario boarder including the Little Grand Rapids dedicated protected planning area, Weeskayjahk Ohtahzhoganiing (Lake country, Dedicated Protected Area) and all Crown land as outlined in the hatched area identified on the Implementation order map.

For information on how to obtain a travel permit please call 807-727-1345.
To view a map of the implementation order area at ontario.ca/forestfire click here.

Restrictions due to forest fire activity in the Kenora District    

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Kenora District, is advising the public that due to extreme forest fire activity from the Kenora 51 fire, an Implementation Order is now in effect until further notice that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands.   

All travel, use and access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Kenora District Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.    

This includes all travel on Sand Lake Road, from the Highway 525 junction, east to the English River Road Junction, all travel on the English River Road, north of the Sand Lake Road junction and all travel on the Werner Lake Road from the Manitoba Border eastward to the end of the road    

All use of lakes and waterways accessible from the English River system, between Caribou Falls and Separation Rapids including all of Umfreville Lake is prohibited   

For detailed information on the restricted access area including obtaining a map or for information on how to apply for a travel permit please call 807-456-2694.   

Please visit ontario.ca/forestfire to view the current restrictions and associated maps. Or click here to view a map of the expanded Implementation Order area.  

Restricted Fire Zone in effect 

Due to high to extreme forest fire hazard conditions, effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday July 10, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry has issued updated boundaries for a Restricted Fire Zone in the Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay Districts and portions of the Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Nipigon and Wawa Districts.  The Restricted Fire Zone will be in effect until further notice. Outdoor fires are banned. Portable gas stoves may still be used BUT must be handled with extreme care.  You can learn more about Restricted Fire Zones here. For a more detailed boundary of the Restricted Fire Zone see the attached map, consult the interactive fire map at Ontario.ca/forestfire or find the map here.

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