Province issues emergency order for northwestern Ontario over forest fire dangers
Move allows government to take special measures for safety of residents, to protect property
The province issued an emergency order early Wednesday due to forest fires in northwestern Ontario, allowing the government to "take special measures to ensure the safety of people and the protection of critical property."
The order is from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.
The ministry's Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services agency (AFFES) said the emergency order allows the province to invoke such measures as travel or access restrictions within an identified area.
I am monitoring the situation closely, and my ministry is doing everything it can to protect communities and property in the area.- Greg Rickford, minister of northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry
The province has not yet announced any specific measures under the order for northwestern Ontario.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 70 forest fires were burning in the region, a day after 18 new ones were reported.
Some of the forest fires are close to communities, and have led to evacuations, including in the First Nation communities of Deer Lake, Pikangikum and Poplar Hill.
The province said the emergency order was issued "due to the extreme fire hazard and increased forest fire activity."
"I am monitoring the situation closely, and my ministry is doing everything it can to protect communities and property in the area," Minister Greg Rickford said in a statement.
"Public safety is our first priority, and we will continue to provide all support necessary to protect the health and well-being of those impacted by wildfires."
A restricted fire zone remains in place for the Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay districts, and portions of the Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and Nipigon districts. No outdoor burning is currently allowed in those areas.