Northwestern Ontario under a restricted fire zone

May 26, 2016

By: Nugget

There are no fire restrictions in the North Bay area, but that doesn’t mean people should be complacent, says a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“You’ve got to keep in mind, we are still under spring conditions, and that can be extremely dangerous,” Shayne McCool, said Wednesday.

“People aren’t aware of how quickly fire can catch or spread, so it’s important to remind folks to be careful.”

McCool said the fire hazard rating is “all over the map” at this time, ranging from low in many areas to high south of North Bay and toward Sudbury, and extreme near Pembroke.

He said there were a number of new fire starts in northeastern Ontario over the weekend, with some believed to be caused by humans and others by lightning.

North Bay 8 is currently under control. That fire covers 0.8 hectares in Temiskaming Shores.

“It’s in good shape,” McCool said.

Eight new fires were reported in the northeastern Ontario region Tuesday.

The fire tagged Sudbury 22 on the shore of Lake Wanapitei has been extinguished, McCool said.

Further west, Sault 17, located north of Elliot Lake on Quirke Lake, is about three hectares in size, and described as not under control. One four-person firefighting crew from Chapleau has been dispatched to fight the blaze, said Christine Rosche, fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services.

Chapleau 5 is being held at .5 hectares; Chapleau 6 is listed as not under control at .2 hectares.

Two fires in Parry Sound are also listed as not under control.

Meanwhile, a forest fire near White River, called Wawa 7, has burned more than 294 hectares of forest and is still not under control.

Rain Tuesday night helped with firefighting efforts, Rosche said, and the fire has not grown.

Five on-site crews were to receive assistance from five additional four-person crews and an incident commander Wednesday. In addition, four helicopters are aiding with that firefighting effort, Rosche said.

Last weekend, Highway 11 in White River and Marathon was closed for about six hours as crews worked to contain a fire.

The fire led to the evacuation of Barrick’s Hemlo Gold Mine, located between the two communities but no property damage was reported and activity at the mine resumed.

Northwestern Ontario remains under a restricted fire zone and enforcement patrols are being conducted to ensure people are not violating the restriction on outdoor fires.

More fires are continuing to be reported in the region.

The forest fire hazard remains high to extreme.

Fire crews are continuing to make progress on consolidating the perimeter of the Kenora 18 fire, but it remains listed as not under control at 5,829 hectares in size.

Crews are continuing to action hot spots identified through infrared scanning along the entire perimeter and within the interior of the fire.

Another fire, Red Lake 03, also remains not under control. It straddles the border of Ontario and Manitoba and is 75,000 hectares in size.

Rosche said it’s important the public be cautious with fires, especially during the current grass burning season.

Residents should also check with municipalities to determine whether local fire bans have been implemented.

Rosche said that while clear weather was in Wednesday’s forecast, rain was expected to return to the area today through Monday.

However, experts will watch for possible thunderstorms with lightning strikes to see where they land and if any additional fires spark.

So far this year, 197 fires have been reported, burning 69,333 hectares of Ontario’s forests. That, according to McCool, is about the 10-year average of 195 fires by this time.

(With files from The Sault Star)

By: Nugget

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