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Water bombers used on new forest fires near Matachewan and Latchford

Smoky conditions expected to continue in nearby communities
2018-07-22 AFFES fire fighting update
Crews battle the Lady Evelyn Fire Cluster. Photo provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry - Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services

Fire crews continue to be busy fighting forest fires in the region.

Across the northeast, according to an update from the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) there were 60 active fires as of yesterday. Of those, 28 are not under control and 32 are being held, under control or being observed.

Resources, including firefighters and equipment, from across the country, United States and Mexico continue to be arrive in Ontario.

Here's an update of some of the fires from the AFFES:

Three new fires in the Cochrane sector

Three new fires in the Cochrane area (20, 21, 22) are being observed approximately 100 km south-southwest of Moosonee to allow for the natural benefits of fire on the landscape.

Recently confirmed fires required aerial fire suppression

Kirkland Lake 15, near the junction of highways 65 and 66, was mapped at 3 hectares and is not yet under control. CL415 water bombers provided aerial suppression on the fire to help reduce its intensity.

North Bay 116, which was discovered yesterday and covers 5.5 hectares, is located approximately 9 km west of Latchford. That fire received aerial suppression from CL415 water bombers Saturday and Sunday.

Parry Sound 33

Parry Sound 33 was very active once again today. The fire will be remapped as soon as smoke conditions permit.

Since it was discovered on July 18, significant aerial fire suppression from CL415 water bombers and helicopter bucketing has taken place. Waterbombers continued to provide aerial suppression on the fire today to help reduce the intensity of the fire and support crews on the ground.

Smoke was noted in many surrounding areas. 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.

Sudbury 83

Sudbury 83 is located approximately 12 km north of the City of Greater Sudbury and currently listed at 53 hectares and not yet under control. This was the first day since the start of the fire on July 19 that air attack was not required to help hold the fire.

River Valley Fire Cluster

Fire behavior was relatively quiet today and both North Bay 62 and North Bay 42 had no significant growth.

There was smoke visible on both fires, from flare ups, hot spots, and wind driven surface fire, but the perimeters were quiet. Helicopters with buckets worked the active areas and crews continued to cut line and pull hose.

This cluster is now monitoring North Bay 25, which is about 200 hectares in size and located in Sturgeon River Provincial Park.

Temagami Fire Cluster

Fires in the Temagami cluster are receiving active fire suppression from 45 firefighters, with aerial support from six bucketing helicopters.

Due to the hot and dry weather there was some activity on fires in the north part of the cluster again today. Crews continue to patrol and mop up on North Bay fire numbers 55, 56, 68 and 69. Firefighters continue to monitor North Bay fire numbers 18, 19, 46, 47 and 61 and action priority areas with helicopter bucketing and CL415 water bombers.

Value protection systems (sprinklers on structures) remain on North Bay fires 55 and 56; and were added to North Bay 47.

North Bay 69, which previously caused the evacuation of 20 homes in the Temagami area, is now under control. Firefighters continue to focus on working their way deep into the interior of the fire to check for hot spots.

Lady Evelyn Fire Cluster

Gusty winds out of the northeast, coupled with high temperatures and low relative humidity produced extreme fire behaviour today. 238 firefighters and support staff and 11 helicopters were assigned to North Bay 72.

Four CL415 Waterbombers and two bird dogs were dispatched to assist with suppression efforts on North Bay 72. North Bay 59 continues to be monitored.

Heavy helicopters continued to bucket water onto this fire, coordinating with crews on the ground.

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.