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Rain helps firefighters working on Temagami forest fires

Crews from across Canada, Mexico working on North Bay-area fires
2018-07-25 Fire Update SUP
Ontario FireRangers work to extinguish fire Parry Sound 33. Supplied photo

As the busy forest fire season continues, as of last night there were 17 fires not yet under control in the northeast region.

According to Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services there are 55 active fires in total, with 38 being held, under control or observed.

The province has been receiving support from across Canada, the United States and Mexico in the form of firefighting crews and equipment.

Here is an update on some of the fires from the AFFES:

Parry Sound 33

Parry Sound 33 is a fire that is approximately 5,612 hectares in size and is currently listed as not under control. There was no growth yesterday on the fire.

With high humidity and scattered showers, the fire remained quiet. This allowed ground crews to aggressively establish hose lines south and north of Key Harbour on the west side of the fire and north of the Key River on the east side of the fire. As well, lines were established from the northern tip of the fire around the northeast corner.

We expect the fire to remain relatively quiet over the next two days; however fire conditions and behaviour can change quickly. Crews continue to monitor weather and fire behaviour closely. Residents will see smoke in the area as crews continue suppression efforts.

Values protection has been put in place in Key Harbour, along parts of the south side of Pickerel River and along a portion of the train tracks to the east of the fire.

A total of eight helicopters worked the fire yesterday.

We ask that residents remain vigilant and respect the Restricted Fire Zone prohibiting all open fires in areas south of the French River, including Parry Sound, from Georgian Bay east to the Quebec border, including Algonquin Provincial Park and from Renfrew north to Mattawa.

In the interest of public safety, on July 21, 2018 the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)’s Parry Sound district recommended that the communities, municipalities and townships within the area below impose a mandatory evacuation of their residents with boat access only:

All areas ranging from the western and northern borders of French River Provincial Park, east to Highway 69, and as far south as the south shore of the Key River; including all residents and members of the public on both the north and south shores of the French River, and the Pickerel River, as well as Hartley Bay.

There is also a recommendation by the MNRF Parry Sound district to impose an evacuation alert to all residents within this area who have road access to their residences or cottages. These residents should be prepared to evacuate pending a change in the fire situation.

In addition, the MNRF’s Sudbury district has recommended that all residents along Hartley Bay Road be placed on an evacuation alert, pending changes to the fire situation.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Conservation Officers have been on site helping notify the public of the situation, and facilitating this evacuation.

Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) has also been advised by Ontario Parks that the French River Provincial Park is fully closed west of Highway 69/400. All campers have been or are being evacuated. Ontario Parks has also suspended permit sales for the French River Delta and Pickerel River areas and are restricting entry to park users (everything west of Highway 69/400).

Henvey Inlet First Nation declared a state of emergency as a precautionary measure. As of July 22 the community has successfully and safely evacuated all of its community members, who are receiving accommodation and food.

River Valley Fire Cluster

This cluster includes two fires; North Bay 62 and North Bay 42. Both fires are now being held. We are monitoring North Bay 25.

There are 138 people working on these fires including fire fighters from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Mexico.

Fire behaviour was relatively quiet yesterday due to the rain, increased cloud cover and higher humidity levels. Fires received about 50 mm of precipitation over the past 48 hours.

Temagami Fire Cluster

There are 45 firefighters, with six helicopters working on fires in the Temagami cluster.

Due to the rain received in the area, fire activity was reduced greatly on all fires within the Temagami Cluster. These conditions made for another great working day for firefighters, as they are able to get into hotspot areas safely.

Lady Evelyn Fire Cluster

The fire remains at 27,579 hectares. 253 firefighters and support staff, 11 helicopters are assigned to this cluster. All resources were assigned to North Bay 72 today. The team continues to observe North Bay 59 and has assumed the responsibility for North Bay fires 18, 19, 46, 59 and 61.

Smoke Concerns

Many Ontario residents have reported smoke drift in their communities. Smoky conditions are expected to continue as a number of fires remain active throughout the northeast region until weather patterns and fire activity change.

AFFES is reminding the public that if they do see flames or smoke, please report it, and stay away from the area in the interest of public safety.

If you have questions or concerns about smoke and your health, please contact Tele Health Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.