92 forest fires burning in northwestern Ontario on Sunday
Fire hazard mainly low to moderate, with some pockets of high, extreme: AFFES
Ninety-two forest fires were burning in northwestern Ontario on Sunday morning, as Environment Canada again issued air quality statements for the Atikokan, Upsala and Quetico area.
Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) said the fire hazard throughout the region was mainly low to moderate, with some pockets of high and extreme hazard in the Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, and Nipigon districts.
A restricted fire zone remains in effect in the Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay (excluding Wabakimi Provincial Park) districts, and portions of the Sioux Lookout and Red Lake districts, AFFES said. Outdoor burning is prohibited in those areas.
Suppression efforts continue on the region's larger fires, AFFES said, including:
- Kenora 51, which is about 200,600 hectares in size and not under control. The fire is burning about 20 kilometres north of Wabaseemoong First Nation, on the north side of Umfreville Lake. AFFES said recent rainfall, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity will reduce fire behaviour, and the likelihood of new fire starts, in the area. An evacuation of Wabameesoong began last week, but the evacuation order has since been lifted. AFFES said fire crews have removed equipment set up to protect the community, and fireguard on the east and south sides of the fire has been completed.
- Red Lake 65, which is located about six kilometres west of Poplar Hill First Nation and is about 20,250 hectares in size. Recent rainfall has aided suppression efforts, with no fire growth being recorded in recent days, and crews are focused on extinguishing hotspot. Poplar Hill was evacuated earlier in the fire season, but residents have since returned home.
- Red Lake 51 is about 53,500 hectares and located about 24 kilometres west of Deer Lake First Nation. Recent rainfall has helped prevent the fire from growing, AFFES said. Deer Lake was evacuated earlier in the fire season, but residents have returned home, and equipment set up to protect the community has been removed.
- Red Lake 77, not under control at about 32,800 hectares, and located about 33 kilometres west of Red Lake. Recent wet weather has aided in the containment of the fire, with crews working on the west flank, which is showing more active behaviour, AFFES said. Fireguard has been built on the east side of the fire.
The Ontario government earlier issued an emergency order for the northwest that allows the province to take special measures "to ensure the safety of people and the protection of critical property."
The restrictions apply to certain industrial operations that have the potential to cause sparks and start fires. A complete list of affected operations is available on Ontario's forest fire information page.
Quetico Provincial Park's backcountry remains closed to campers and travellers due to forest fire activity.