Sault Ste. Marie — As of September 8, 2023, at 6:00 PM EST, the Northeast Fire Region released its latest update on the wildfire situation in the region. As of late Friday afternoon, there were a total of 34 active wildland fires in the Northeast Region. Of these, 2 are under control, 1 is not under control, and 31 are currently being observed. Additionally, one new wildland fire was confirmed today, further escalating concerns among residents and authorities.
New Wildland Fire: Cochrane 48
A new addition to the list of active fires is Cochrane 48, situated approximately 106 kilometers west of Moosonee. This fire has already consumed a significant area, spanning 200 hectares. Currently, the status of this fire is marked as “being observed,” emphasizing the need for vigilant monitoring and potential action.
Fire Hazard Assessment
The overall fire hazard in the Northeast Fire Region remains relatively low, providing some relief to communities in the area. However, there are isolated pockets of moderate fire hazard located north of Sault Ste. Marie and around regions such as Espanola, Burwash, and the northeastern part of Algonquin Provincial Park. These areas warrant heightened caution and preparedness measures.
Notable Wildland Fire: Hearst 18
One wildland fire stands out as notable within the Northeast Fire Region—Hearst 18. Positioned about 104 kilometers northeast of Hearst or 80 kilometers north of Kapuskasing, this extensive fire spans a staggering 1,607.5 hectares in size. Unfortunately, it remains “not under control,” presenting an ongoing challenge for firefighting efforts in the region.
Monitoring Smoke Conditions
For residents interested in tracking smoke forecasts and staying informed about current and projected conditions, FireSmoke.ca offers a valuable resource. Additionally, individuals with concerns about the health implications of wildfire smoke are encouraged to contact Telehealth Ontario at 811 for guidance and assistance.
Supporting Firefighting Efforts
The Northeast Fire Region underscores the importance of community collaboration in the battle against wildfires. As firefighting resources are mobilized to address these challenges, it is crucial for the public to play a role in supporting these efforts. This includes adhering to safety guidelines, particularly with respect to aerial firefighting operations:
- Stay Clear of Waterbombers: When waterbombers are approaching a body of water, it is vital to move close to the shore to allow them to perform their operations safely. Waterbombers cannot scoop water if there are encroaching watercraft that pose safety hazards.
- Respect the No Drone Zone: Flying drones around forest fires is both dangerous and illegal. Such actions can jeopardize the lives of pilots, firefighters, and emergency personnel. It is imperative to stay clear of forest fires and adhere to safety regulations.
Reporting Wildland Fires
The Northeast Fire Region encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any wildland fires promptly. 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. Timely reporting is essential in facilitating rapid response and containment of wildfires in the region.