92 wildfires burn on Sunday in northwestern Ontario
Ninety-two wildfires 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 risk across the region was mostly low to moderate, with a few pockets of high and extreme risk in the districts of Fort Frances, Thunder Bay and Nipigon.
A restricted fire zone remains in effect in the Districts of Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay (excluding Wabakimi Provincial Park) and parts of the Districts of Sioux Lookout and Red Lake, AFFES said. . Outdoor burning is prohibited in these areas.
Suppression efforts continue on the region’s largest fires, AFFES said, including:
- Kenora 51, which is approximately 200,600 hectares in area and is not under control. The fire is burning approximately 20 kilometers north of Wabaseemoong First Nation on the north side of Umfreville Lake. AFFES said recent rains, cooler temperatures and higher humidity will reduce fire behavior and the likelihood of new fires starting in the region. An evacuation of Wabameesoong began last week, but the evacuation order has since been lifted. AFFFES said fire crews have removed equipment put in place to protect the community and fire breaks on the east and south sides of the blaze have been completed.
- Red Lake 65, which is located approximately six kilometers west of Poplar Hill First Nation and has an area of approximately 20,250 hectares. Recent rains have facilitated suppression efforts as no fire growth has been recorded in recent days, and crews are focusing on extinguishing the hot spot. Poplar Hill was evacuated earlier in the fire season, but residents have since returned home.
- Red Lake 51 covers approximately 53,500 hectares and is located approximately 24 kilometers west of Deer Lake First Nation. Recent rains have helped prevent the blaze from spreading, AFFES said. Deer Lake was evacuated earlier in the fire season, but residents have returned home and equipment put in place to protect the community has been removed.
- Red Lake 77, uncontrolled at approximately 32,800 hectares, and located approximately 33 kilometers west of Red Lake. The recent wet weather has helped contain the blaze, with crews working on the western flank, showing more active behavior, AFFES said. Fireguard was built on the east side of the fire.
The Ontario government previously issued an emergency order for the northwest that allows the province to take special measures “to ensure the safety of persons and the protection of essential property.”
The restrictions apply to certain industrial operations that may cause sparks and fires. A complete list of the operations concerned is available on Ontario Forest Fire Information Page.
The backcountry of Quetico Provincial Park remains closed to campers and travelers due to forest fire activity.