THUNDER BAY – Eighty-one new fires were discovered by the Ministry of Natural Resources in the region Tuesday, nearly double the average amount of daily new fire starts.
“The air sort of cleared of smoke, and the aircraft were able to get out there and find a lot of hold-over lightning fires throughout the region,” says Chris Marshand, Ministry of Natural Resources fire information officer.
North Spirit Lake and Cat Lake are the latest communities to be evacuated as new forest fires start nearby. Officials have put out six new fires near North Spirit Lake in the past few days however more new starts are emerging. There is an 850 hectare fire to the west of Cat Lake and a 20,000 hectare fire about 27 kilometres north of the community.
The Northwest region has 80 crews assigned to fight fires and an additional 20 on alert as well as 25 contract crews on hire to assist in the “sustained attack suppression effort”.
“We’ve seen some really good work from firefighters who are turning over approximately 10 fires a day in the northwest region, culling them out” says Marshand. “Those are high numbers and they’re certainly responding to these fires fast, keeping them small, extinguishing them and getting back to base so that they can be reassigned to new starts as they emerge.”
The fire crews from Mexico are being assigned to fire situations in various parts of the region and will be travelling to those assignments Wednesday.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning there were 168 active fires in the northwest region.