July 7, 2023 Northwest District Wildfire Update: 59 Active Fires

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Wildfire Update

THUNDER BAY – Wildfire Update – As of this update, there are currently 59 active fires in the Northwest Region. Out of these, 8 fires are not under control, 6 fires are being held, 10 fires are under control, and 35 fires are being observed.

New fire incidents were reported in the Northwest Region on the afternoon of July 7:

  1. Red Lake 48: This fire is situated approximately 11.5 kilometres east of Highway 105 and 2.2 kilometres north of Bruce Lake. The fire spans 0.1 hectares and is currently under control.
  2. Nipigon 42: Located approximately 30.6 kilometres northeast of Webequie and 2.0 kilometres east of Winisk River Provincial Park, this fire covers an area of 50.0 hectares and is currently being observed.
  3. Kenora 33: Situated approximately 4.7 kilometres east of Highway 105 and 2.0 kilometres south of Camp Robinson Road, this fire spans 0.1 hectares and is not yet under control.

The wildland fire hazard across the Northwest Region varies from low to extreme. The eastern side of the region, including the Highway 17 corridor and areas northward toward Red Lake, is experiencing a high to extreme hazard.

Northwest Fires of Note

  • Sioux Lookout 33 is located on the western edge of Wabakimi Provincial Park. The 60,394 hectare fire is not under control. Values protection is ongoing.
  • Sioux Lookout 44 is located on the west side of Lake St. Joseph. The 6,730 hectare fire is not under control. Helicopter bucket operations are providing support and values protection is ongoing.
  • Sioux Lookout 53 is located 3.5 kilometers east of the Bearskin Lake First Nation. The 334.2 hectare fire is currently being held. Excellent progress continues to be made.
  • Nipigon 13 is located west of Ogoki Lake. The 37,868 hectare fire is not under control. Values assessment and protection is ongoing and helicopter bucket operations are providing support.
  • Nipigon 19 is located northwest of Ogoki Lake. The 10,064 hectare fire is not under control. Crews continue to establish hose lines while helicopter bucket operations continue to provide support.
  • Red Lake 28 is located 40 kilometers north of Lac Seul First Nation. The 19,177 hectare fire is not under control. Crews continue to establish hose lines while helicopter bucket operations continue to provide support.

Restricted Fire Zone

Despite recent precipitation in parts of Ontario, forest fuels remain dry and vulnerable to holdover ignition from lightning. This can lead to more challenging fire behavior. The amount of precipitation in some areas has not been enough to reduce the moisture content of subsurface fuels, resulting in a persistent fire hazard. Burning conditions can quickly rebound as the drying trend continues, leading to a buildup of available forest fuel. Lightning strikes during scattered precipitation can ignite fires under the forest floor. Holdover lightning fires from convective activity can appear up to a week later when weather conditions dry up, winds increase, and temperatures rise.

Therefore, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has implemented a Restricted Fire Zone for the entire fire region of Ontario (Zones 1 to 36). This zone will remain in effect until further notice. The Restricted Fire Zone aims to ensure public safety by prohibiting open air burning, including campfires, within its boundaries. However, portable gas or propane stoves may be used for cooking and warmth, but with extreme caution. All burning permits are suspended.

Reporting a Wildland Fire

To report a wildland fire located north of the French and Mattawa rivers, please dial 310-FIRE. For forest fires located south of the French or Mattawa rivers, please dial 911.

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