Forest fire hazard in northwestern Ontario reaches high to extreme

July 22, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

The ministry says lightning is to blame for most of the fires in the northwest region.

As the summer season continues in northwestern Ontario, officials from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are blaming lightning for the dozens of new fires reported in this region.

“High temperatures and steady winds are raising the fire hazard across the region,” Fire Information Officer with the ministry, Chris Marchand told CBC News.

“Currently the hazard is high across most of the region with pockets of extreme hazard in the Red Lake district.”

He said there are currently 82 active fires across the region in various stages of control, with 68 of them either under observation, being held or under control.

The hot weather has not made the situation any better, he said, with two fires of note in Red Lake and Kenora.

“Red Lake fire 70 now at 2900 hectares has been burning in the northern part of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park since July 13 [and] there’s an ignition team assigned to this fire,” Marchand explained. 

He added that a fire in Kenora — close to the Manitoba boarder and approximately 33 kilometres north of the community of Wabaseemoong — “has been aggressive” due to fuel types in the area like standing dead pine.

“It’s claimed about 3000 hectares since it started on July 15,” Marchand said, “[but] at the moment they have 25 crews supported by air attack trying to establish hose lines around the rear of the fire.”

An aerial shot of the forest fire in Red Lake near the boundary of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park that started on July 13, 2018. (submitted to AFFES)

While there are currently no fire bans in place, fire crews from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories are expected to arrive this week to help the region.

Marchand reminds residents to take extra caution when dealing with open fires this week and to frequently check with the municipal fire department for any bans they might have in place.

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