Train stopped as firefighters battle Shuniah wildfire

A train travelling on a Canadian Pacific rail line in Shuniah, Ont. was stopped temporarily Wednesday afternoon due to a wildfire burning on the tracks, Shuniah fire officials said.

Fire broke out Wednesday afternoon on CP tracks

A train travelling on a CP line in Shuniah was temporarily stopped due to a wildfire burning on and around the tracks on Wednesday afternoon. (Shuniah Fire & Emergency Services)

A train travelling on a Canadian Pacific rail line in Shuniah, just outside of Thunder Bay, Ont., was stopped temporarily Wednesday afternoon due to a wildfire burning on the tracks, Shuniah fire officials said.

The fire was reported by a Shuniah firefighter, who saw smoke while driving in the area of MacKenzie Station Road and Walkinshaw Road.

Concerned that someone was burning debris in the area — Shuniah, like most of northwestern Ontario, is under a fire ban due to dry conditions and high fire risk — the firefighter called it in.

It was discovered, however, that a wildfire was burning on and around the CP line in the area.

Firefighters from the Shuniah fire department and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) were dispatched to the area shortly after 2 p.m., as were CP rail police officers.

An eastbound train was stopped for about 15 minutes while firefighters battled the blaze, but the line was then reopened and the train allowed to proceed.

The fire was, at its largest, about 150 metres long by 45 metres wide, said Shuniah Fire Chief Blair Arthur. 

The fire was declared under control shortly after 4 p.m., and Shuniah firefighters transferred the scene to the MNRF firefighters to finish extinguishing the blaze.

The cause of the fire is not immediately known.