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New forest fire may pose threat to White River area (11 p.m. update)

Forest fire Wawa 7 has consumed over 20 hectares of forest near White River and closed both highways that meet in that community
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forest fire stock shutterstock_106906292 2016
File photo.

11 p.m. update

Both Highway 17 at White River and Highway 11 between Hearst and Long Lac have now been reopened, say police. 

8:35 p.m. update

Both Highways 11 and 17 remain closed.

Hydro ONE is reporting power outages between White River and Mobert along Highway 17. That outage was caused by forest fire Wawa 7.

About 600 people are affected and crews are working to restore power. Hydro ONE is aiming to have power on to those people by 11 p.m. this evening. 

There is another outage reported between Hearst and Parthia on Highway 11 as well as further north up the highway in the vicinity of Highway 631.

There is also a power outage on Highway 17 in the vicinity of Highway 614. This outage has been attributed to a pole fire and power is expected to be up again shortly.

Original story: 7 p.m.

A forest fire is burning out of control in the area of White River at this time.

"Wawa 7, which is not under control at 20 hectares," reports a spokesperson from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). "Persons travelling west of White River along highway 17 may notice smoke as three crews continue to work to suppress the fire, on the ground and by air."

The James Bay (Kapuskasing) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police has closed both Highway 11 between Hearst and Long Lac.

The Superior East – White River Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police advise that Highway 17 is closed at White River.

The OPP have initiated the closures of these Highways to address a public safety concern created by forest fires along the Highway, says an OPP spokesperson

No detour is available and the estimated duration of the road advisories is unknown.

SooToday will have more on this developing situation as information becomes available.

Please do not call O.P.P. Provincial Communication Centres for road advisory updates or road condition information.

Visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website at ontario.ca/511, twitter @511Ontario  or call 511 traveller's information such as winter road conditions, construction reports, road closures, traffic reports, traffic cameras and interactive mapping.

The The forest fire hazard in the region ranges from high to extreme except in the far North, cautions MNRF staff.




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Carol Martin

About the Author: Carol Martin

Carol Martin has enjoyed more than 15-years experience in journalism to date. Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Carol has also lived and worked in Constance Lake First Nation, Sudbury and Kingston.
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