Northwest Fire Region – August 11, 2021 – Wildfire Update

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Wildfire Update

Thunder Bay – Wildfire Update – There were four new fires reported confirmed over the past 2 hours. At the time of this update there were 114 active fires in the northwest region. 12 fires were not under control, 5 fires were being held, 9 fires were under control and 88 fires were being monitored.

Fire Situation Overview

  • There were four new fires confirmed in the Northwest Region by the early evening of August 11.
    • Red Lake 223 has been declared out at 0.1 hectares and was located near Whitemud Lake.
    • Fort Frances 127 is not under control at 1 hectare and is located near Wink Lake, approximately 45 kilometres southwest of Atikokan.
    • Sioux Lookout 132 is not under control at 0.2 hectares and is located near Sandybank Lake, approximately 7 kilometres west of Wapekeka First Nation.
    • Fort Frances 128 is not under control at 0.2 hectares and is located near Little Grassy Lake, approximately 45 kilometres east of Fort Frances.
  • To see the wildland fire hazard near you, visit our interactive map at Ontario.ca/forestfire.

Fires of Note 

Kenora 51

  • Kenora 51 is 200,667 hectares in size and remains not under control.
  • Recent rainfall is expected to reduce fire behaviour for a short-term period. Separation Lake Weather Station recorded 23 mm of rain overnight August 10, with an additional 2.8 mm overnight August 11 – though rainfall was not consistent across the fire area.
  • New fire starts as a result of recent lightning activity are expected to emerge as conditions dry out.
  • Kenora 51 remains 20 km north of Wabaseemoong on the northern side of Umfreville Lake.
  • Firefighters are assessing opportunities to action the fire’s edge while weather conditions permit. Additional crews are being moved into strategic areas as they become available.
  • Bulldozers are constructing fire guard on the eastern edge of the fire.
  • Crews are continuing to run sprinklers to protect properties
  • An Incident Management Team is established on the fire.

Red Lake 65

  • The fire has been remapped to 20,254 hectares and located 6 kilometres west of Poplar Hill First Nation.
  • Crews continue laying and working hose lines on strategic areas of the fires. Heli-buckets continue to assist where needed.
  • Fire behaviour is smouldering with some visible smoke

Red Lake 51

  • The fire has been remapped to 53,522 hectares and located approximately 24 kilometres west of Deer Lake First Nation.
  • Crews are working hose lines along the east side of the fire.
  • Fire behaviour is smouldering with some visible smoke.
  • An Incident Management Team has been assigned to oversee this fire.

Red Lake 77

  • The fire is not under control and is 32,799 ha, approximately 33 km west of Red Lake.
  • Smouldering with some open flame on the east flank – recent showers amounted to between 12-20 millimeters but was scattered across the area.
  • Crews continue to establish hose lines working on the north east edge of the fire while Heli-buckets assisted with hot spots.
  • Fireguard continues to be built east of 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:

  1. 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.caor   1-800-667-1940.

Restrictions due to forest fire activity in the Red Lake District  

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

All access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Red Lake District NDMNRF.

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 Conifer Road and Longlegged Road junction.

All modes of travel/access onto Storey Lake, Philip Lake, Pringle Lake (including Dedicated Protected Areas), and the North shore of Nungesser Lake at RED 68 fire perimeter.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Eagle Snowshoe Conservation Reserve, Little Grand Rapids Protected Area, Lake Country Protected Area and all Crown land as outlined in the hatched area identified on the Implementation order map.

For information on travel permits 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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