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USFS Tankers Fight Kenora Fire


Two USFS BAE-146 retardant air tankers began air attack on Kenora Fire 018 on the afternoon of May 10

 THUNDER BAY ON  -----  May 11, 2016 ----- There were two new fires confirmed in the Norwest Region by the evening of May 10, both in the Thunder Bay District.

An ongoing fire of note is Kenora 018, in the Ingolf area about 55 kilometers west of Kenora. It was last estimated at 5,100 hectares in size on the morning of May 10, and is not under control. Further growth on this fire is expected as it continues to show extreme fire behaviour.

An Incident Management Team has been assigned to the fire which has had continuous air attack with CL-415 heavy water bombers and Ontario FireRangers working on ground attack. They are maintaining sprinkler protection equipment and establishing hose lines on the fire.

Aviation and fire personnel have also started aerial ignition from a helicopter to fight fire with fire and continue with CL-415 heavy water bomber attack.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry personnel with the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Program commenced aerial ignition on Kenora District Fire Number 18 as one more method of attack on this aggressive fire.

Minnesota providing quick strike on Kenora District Fire

Minnesota sent an interagency aviation package of two US Forest Service-contracted Type 1 retardant tankers, a lead plane, and a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources air attack to Kenora Fire 18 on the afternoon of May 10 under cooperative agreements between the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, the United States and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.  

The US aircraft will drop retardant to protect two targets.  The first is a high tension power line with a large right-of-way with grasses. The power line provides power to the City of Kenora. The second target is a railroad and high-value homes and cottages near Caddy Lake.  

The air tankers will reload at a Minnesota air base (Ely or Bemidji). Minnesota develops interagency and international quick strike agreements during the off-season when fire danger is low.  The agreement allows single-day operations, coordinated with Canadian and US Customs and Border Protection, to allow expedited crossing of the international border for firefighting aircraft.
This arrangement is reciprocated with Minnesota able to bring in CL415 heavy water-bombers and BirdDog air attack planes from both Manitoba and Ontario when needed.

Red Lake District Fire 003

Another fire of note is Red Lake Fire 003 which is listed as not under control with an estimated size of 56,000 hectares combined between Ontario and Manitoba as this fire is straddling the border between the two provinces.

Red Lake District Fire Number 003, located within Woodland Caribou Provincial Park has exhibited extreme fire behaviour throughout
its progress. This extreme behaviour is expected to continue, challenging firefighting efforts in Ontario and Manitoba.

The Ontario portion of the fire is located in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and Ontario Parks strongly cautions people to avoid the southwest portion of the park while suppression action is under way. Assessment for closures of routes or portage continue so people are advised to check with the park office for updates and information on possible route or access closures. The contact number is 807-727-1329.

Smoky conditions are expected to continue in the region. The location of the smoke drift will depend on wind direction.

Restricted Fire Zone

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has declared a Restricted Fire Zone in much of Northwestern Ontario to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.

Effective May 07 at 0001 daylight time, the Restricted Fire Zone was put in place and will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Under the Restricted Fire Zone all open fires are prohibited.  Campfires may be allowed at some organized campgrounds or parks that use approved fire pits and meet certain other criteria.  Campers should check with the owners or operators first.  Within the Restricted Fire Zone area, people can still use portable gas stoves for cooking and warmth but the public is asked to exercise extreme caution.  Fire staff and conservation officers will strictly enforce the restrictions on open burning.

Emergency Area Order – restricted travel on designated roads

An Emergency Area Order has been declared in the Kenora District over Kenora Fire 018. The fire has road restrictions under this Emergency Area Order. All travel and use of the Gundy Lake Road from the Junction north of Hwy 17 is prohibited; White Road is closed at the intersection of the White Road and the Malachi Lake Road; the Ingolf Road at the Ontario Manitoba border. Travel is prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Kenora District of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. All use and occupation of Crown Land on or within 500 meters of the described closed roads above is prohibited. This Order came into effect at 4:35 PM Central Daylight Time on May 6, 2016 and will remain in effect until such time as the order is revoked.

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