THUNDER BAY, ON ---- July 11, 2011 --- To assist fire suppression in the Northwest Region, 100 initial attack firefighters from British Columbia will arrive July 12 as well as a tanker group (two waterbombers and a Birddog aircraft) from Quebec expected July 11 that joins another Quebec tanker group that arrived last week. Resource import is standard operating procedure when fire conditions reach predetermined levels and are part of a national mutual aid arrangement. Ontario had crews in Alberta early this season and for the previous two seasons in British Columbia as part of the support agreement.
Red Lake Fire Management Supervisor Randy Crampton assesses the fire
situation with Randy Opaski.
There were two new fires by early evening on July 11 with one in the Red Lake District and two in the Thunder Bay District.
There were 17 new fires by day’s end on July 10 with one in the Dryden District, four in the Nipigon District, five in the Red Lake District and seven in the Sioux Lookout District.
Emergency Response Update
Red Lake District Fire Number 84 in the Margaret Lake area damaged the main power line affecting residents in Slate Falls, Cat Lake, Mishkeegogamang and Musselwhite Mine.
Smoke will remain an issue and some existing fires or new ones could cause concern for surrounding First Nation Communities.
There are 543 Deer Lake residents registered in Greenstone.
The First Nation communities of Sandy Lake, Cat Lake, North Spirit Lake, Kee-way-win and Koocheching remain on evacuation alert and continue to monitor the situation.
Smoke from surrounding forest fires may drift in and out of all communities. The First Nation Chiefs and Emergency Management Ontario, along with multiple federal and provincial agencies continue to pre-plan (as a precaution) in the event of additional evacuations.
Fires of Note
Red Lake District Fire Number 84 – Jack Welch Incident Management Team
The Incident Management Team is setting up at a location east of Ear Falls.
Red Lake 84 – not under control – 5,300 hectares in size: This fire is located about 50 kilometres northeast of Ear Falls, and has resulted in a burned power line that has disrupted power to the communities of Cat Lake, Pickle Lake, Slate Falls, Mishkeegogamang and Musselwhite Mines
Despite aggressive initial attack on the fire with five CL-415 heavy water bombers and three FireRanger crews, the fire resisted control efforts. High winds gusting up to 50 kilometres per hour caused extreme fire behaviour. An indication of the fire’s intensity was that it burned through the night on July 10 growing from 1,100 hectares in size in the evening to 4,760 hectares when remapped on the morning of July 11. It is currently 5,300 hectares in size
Sprinkler protection was placed on tourist outpost camps in the area and a group of tourists was evacuated from Margaret Lake. Suppression efforts also concentrated on preventing further damage to the power line.
The Incident Management Team will continue suppression efforts on the fire.
Deer Lake Complex – Wes Woods Incident Management Team
A twenty-person Incident Management Team has been assigned to the Deer Lake-Sandy Lake Complex, with 150 staff working on the fires.
The Incident Management Team is operating out of the Deer Lake School with members of the Deer Lake community providing much needed logistical support to the team.
Rain over the past couple of days has provided an opportunity for fire crews to make good progress on containing the fires and putting out hot spots in the interior of the fires.
Red Lake Fire 26 - lightning-caused – not under control – 121.0 hectares in size:
No additional growth on the fire has occurred since crews were able to establish hose lines around the fire on July 7. Fire crews continue to work consolidating hose lines and working their way in from the perimeter putting out smokes.
Red Lake Fire 27 – lightning-caused – not under control – 259.0 hectares in size
FireRanger crews have been working hard at establishing hose lines along the perimeter of the fire aiming to line around the entire perimeter. Fire behaviour is quiet and crews are patrolling the interior to put out hot spots.
Pickle Lake Complex – Fred Welch Incident Management Team
Sioux Lookout 35 – lightning-caused – not under control at 78,999.0 hectares in size – is about nine kilometres east of Mishkeegogamang at its closest point on the western edge of the fire. Managed by an Incident Management Team there are 151 personnel on the fires.
An Emergency Area Order remains in effect over the fire and travel restrictions remain on a portion of the Albany River in the vicinity of the fire.
FireRangers continue to work into the interior of the fire from the perimeter, focusing on hot spots identified by infrared scanning along the south and north flanks of the fire.
Smoke from fires in the Red Lake District and other fires in the Sioux Lookout district may be visible.
Sioux Lookout Fire Number 38 – being observed - 8,674 hectares in size: This fire is located 16 kilometres north of Weagamow First Nation and it is being observed except for the southern portion of the fire that is receiving suppression action.
Fire behaviour on this fire increased slightly July 10 under sunny skies and low relative humidity values, however, the fire behaviour is forecast to stay low with cloud and the possibility of rain. The ongoing strategy is to continue with heli-bucketing and working with hand tools to extinguish hot spots located by infrared scanning.
Cat Lake/Slate Falls Complex - John MacDonald Incident Management Team
The Incident Command Team is set up at the Slate Falls Nation Band Office. Additional resources will be based at Cat Lake. There are 56 personnel on this fire complex.
Sioux Lookout Fire 61 – lightning-caused – not under control at 833 hectares in size: This fire is located about 44 kilometres southwest of the Cat Lake First Nation.
Sioux Lookout Fire 64 – lightning-caused – not under control at 2, 433 hectares in size: This fire is located about 40 kilometres southwest of Cat Lake.
Sprinklers and hoses have been set up at values located on Brownstone Lake, Graham Lake, Carrilon Lake, Shearstone Lake, and Birch Lake
Both fires have received rain and as a result, fire behaviour has been low over the past few days.
A column of smoke from Red Lake Fire 84, about 40 kilometres west of Slate Falls may be visible from the community, but due to current weather conditions smoke is not anticipated to be a problem for either Cat Lake or Slate Falls. This Red Lake fire has disrupted power to both communities.
FireRangers are hard at work fighting forest fires across the Northwest Region
There are currently 89 active fires in the Northwest Region, with two in the Dryden District, eight in the Nipigon District, 37 in the Red Lake District, 40 in the Sioux Lookout District and two in the Thunder Bay District. There are no fires active at this time in the Fort Frances and Kenora Districts.
Map of Current Active Fires
Fire Danger Map
The weather forecast is calling for clearing weather with higher temperatures and sunny conditions. This will increase the forest fire hazard and likely result in more active fire behaviour on fires burning in the region. Smoky conditions are expected to occur in communities across the region depending on fire activity and wind direction.
The public is being advised to manage their outdoor fires safely by keeping their campfire small and putting it dead out before leaving. Details on requirements for safe outdoor fires can be found at ontario.ca/fireprevention.
Those in a municipality or First Nations community should check with fire officials for local bylaws before burning.
Forest fires can be reported by calling 310-FIRE (3473)
For general fire questions: Forest Fire Information Hotline: 1-888-258-8842
Smoke and health related questions: Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000