Algonquin Park reopens eastern entrances

Algonquin Park has reopened most of its eastern entrances this morning, but said a fire ban remains in effect.

Algonquin Park officials say fires in region have been contained

Algonquin Park has reopened most of its eastern entrances this morning, but said a fire ban remains in effect.

Authorities had evacuated the eastern portion of the park ten days ago after a 225-hectare fire spread from a military training ground at CFB Petawawa to close to the eastern border of the park.

Firefighters eventually contained the blaze, but several smaller fires kept park officials wary of reopening the park. Since July 19, there have been a total of ten fires in the closed-off section of the park.

One fire just outside the northern boundary of the park between Eeyore and Pooh Lakes is under control and is expected to be extinguished by the end of Tuesday.

The entrance points at Achray, Mallard Lake, Sand Lake, McManus Lake Lake Travers, Number One Lake and Bisset Creek Road are all expected to be open Tuesday morning. Crown land entrance points such as Barron Canyon Road and Warpath Trail are also expected to reopen.

Bassin Lake Road will remain closed due to fallen trees. Work to clear the road is expected to be completed by Wednesday. All of the park remains a restricted fire zone.

The hot, dry summer in the region has turned normally green grass yellow and desiccated the soil underneath, making for ideal conditions for brush or forest fires. As a result, most campgrounds, including in Algonquin Park, are under strict fire bans.

Angela Burgess, the owner of the KOA campground in Renfrew, Ont., said the fire ban has led to a drop in reservations, but the biggest hit to her business has been the drop in firewood sales.

"It's rough on the bottom line when you lose out on a large component like our wood sales are," said Burgess. "We're talking thousands, it's a major component."

Campers in Renfrew were not arguing with the logic.

"I prefer having no forest fires than having a campfire," said Laverne Sailes, who said the fresh air was reason enough to leave the city and go camping.