Following is an update on the region's forest fire situation from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry:
The combined efforts of the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services personnel from the Greenstone Fire Management Headquarters and the Northwest Region Forest Fire Management Center as well as Greenstone municipal officials, the Geraldton Fire Department and the Ontario Provincial Police resulted in the protection of lives and property.
Nipigon District Fire Number 14 west of Geraldton showed intense fire behaviour.
Relentless attack with water bombers stopped the fire at the western edge of Geraldton and it is believed that no structures were lost. Five water bombers worked the main fire until dark. Two of those water bombers came from Manitoba to assist in holding the fire which is now listed as being held at 12 hectares in size. It is now smouldering in a patchy burn that FireRanger crews are working to put out..
Nipigon District Fire Number 13, located north of Geraldton, adjacent to the airport is a combination of fires that merged into one. It too received aggressive air attack and is listed at 275 hectares in size with a status of not under control. FireRanger crews are now establishing hose line around the fire and air attack will continue on this fire as needed.
Kenora District Fire 018 is in good shape and listed as being held.
Red 003 (in Woodland Caribou Park) escaped on the northern side of the fire at two points on the perimeter on May 22.
A southern excursion ran more than 22 kilometers. Two individuals on a canoe trip had their camp burnt over and activated locator beacons.
Military activated search and rescue out of Trenton and rescued the two. On May 24 the fire was relatively calm under cloudy skies and some rain. An emergency area order is now in place on a section of the fire.
For public safety and effective fire suppression, until further notice, all travel and use of the Iriam Loop Road from Black Bear Lodge on the North end to the intersection of the South Pakwash Road on the south end, including all Branch Roads off the Iriam Loop Road is prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Red Lake District of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Thunder Bay Fire 019, located about 40 kilometers north of Raith in the Dog River Road area, started on May 22 and grew to 1200 hectares in size with losses of cut wood and forestry equipment.
Aggressive work with water bombers and crews held the fire at 1200 hectares.
An emergency area order is now in place over the fire and travel restrictions are in place including all travel and use of the Dog River Road northward from the junction of the Dog River Road and Sideen Road; the Dog River Road southward from the junction of the Dog River Road and the Chismore Road, and the Pakashkan Road southward from the junction of the Pakashkan Road and the Chismore Road.
Also, all use and occupation of Crown Land on or within 500 meters of the described closed roads noted above within this area is prohibited.
There was one new lightning-caused fire the Red Lake District by the evening of May 24. It is now out. By days end on May 23 there were 11 new forest fires in the districts of Nipigon, Dryden and Red Lake. As noted, the fire behaviour on these fires was extreme and required aggressive attack.
The Restricted Fire Zone remains in effect across the Northwest Region
Enforcement patrols are being conducted in the region to ensure people are not in violation of the restriction on outdoor fires currently in place across the Northwest Region except for the far north.
Charges and fines have been laid as a result of these patrols, and public reports continue to come in of people setting campfires and large bon fires.
Out of Province
Eighty people returned from Alberta over the weekend including FireRangers, an Incident Management Team, Agency Representatives, Division Supervisors and Strike Team Leaders. They will return to work in Ontario.
Remaining in Alberta are 85 personnel who deployed there last week including FireRangers, Agency Representatives, Division Supervisors, Strike Team Leaders, Helicopter Officers, a Supply Unit Leader a Service Branch Director and an Incident Management Team.
Ontario is keeping adequate resources to continue fighting fires in this province while supporting Alberta.
Aircraft flight restrictions over Red Lake Fire 003 and Nipigon fires (Geraldton)
There are Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) advisories in place for Red Lake District Fire Number 003 and the Nipigon District fires near Geraldton/Geraldton airport regarding flight operations over the fires.
For more information about the current fire situation, the active fires map and the restricted fire zones go to ontario.ca/forestfire