Thunder Bay

Forest fire being fought in Pickle Lake, Ont.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is working on a forest fire in the Pickle Lake area after it broke out late Thursday afternoon between the town site and the neighbouring area of Central Patricia.

Power out, airport closed, telephone and Internet services down

A view of the Sioux Lookout 8 forest fire from just south of the junction of Highway 599 and Pickle Lake Road, in Pickle Lake, ON. June 7 2019. (Bernie Hawryluk)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is working on a forest fire in the Pickle Lake area after it broke out late Thursday afternoon between the town site and the neighbouring area of Central Patricia.

On Friday morning, the MNRF's interactive forest fire map showed the fire, called Sioux Lookout 8, was about 780 hectares in size, and not under control. It's burning along Pickle Lake Road, about one kilometre northwest of the town itself. The road connects the town site to Highway 599.

As of late Friday morning, the Pickle Lake airport was closed due to the fire's proximity to the community. The fire had also resulted in the loss of power, and phone and Internet services in the community.

Sioux Lookout Fire 8 broke out near Pickle Lake on Thursday. (Lucie Hoffman)

At 6 p.m. ET Thursday the Township of Pickle Lake posted on its Facebook page that the community was on alert and people were asked to pack a small bag and be ready to go in the direction of the airport if notice was given.

However by 9 p.m. ET Thursday, the township posted that Pickle Lake was not under an evacuation at that time and residents were asked to return to their homes.

According to a media release from the MNRF, waterbombers and FireRanger crews were working on the fire and the township posted Pickle Lake Fire Rescue was also helping to put out hot spots.

The view from Pickle Lake Road on Friday morning. A forest fire, known as Sioux Lookout Fire 8, broke out near Pickle Lake on Thursday afternoon. Forest fire fighting crews are currently battling the fire, which was reported as being about 600 hectares in size and not under control. (Lucie Hoffman)

Friday morning, the Hydro One website was showing a power outage in the area affecting more than 450 customers due to the forest fire. The outage stretches from Pickle Lake south to Mishkeegogamang First Nation.

The outage map stated crews had partially restored power but full restoration was not expected until 11 p.m. CT Friday.

Pickle Lake resident Lucie Hoffman said smoke remained heavy in Pickle Lake on Friday morning.
Forest fire broke out near Pickle Lake on Thursday June 6. (Lucie Hoffman)

"I imagine that some people are having problems breathing," Hoffman said.

"The winds are supposed to change direction to blow it all right back [Friday]," she said. "We're hoping the forecast is wrong."

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