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Temagami area fires continue to rage in the back country

'There's some pretty big fires in the Lady Evelyn area, up that way. The MNRF has closed all the provincial parks up there and are trying to keep people from going up there and canoeing in those particular areas' Dan O'Mara Municipal Councillor Temagami

Early Tuesday the fire situation in the Temagami area was reported as stable.

"As of Tuesday morning, the fire area was about 1.5 kilometres south of Temagami Marine, putting it four to five kilometres from town. Last night’s rained helped a little bit, but a lot of that rain will have already dried up,” said Temagami Municipal Councillor Dan O’Mara.

“The fire behavioural analysts are concerned that things can pop up pretty quickly, and there was some lightening yesterday. The area is not out of the woods yet. We just have to wait and see and respond where we can.”

O'Mara says the big issue now is the back country.

“There are some pretty big fires in the Lady Evelyn area, up that way. The ministry has closed all the provincial parks up there, and now they’re trying to keep people from going up there, canoeing outside those particular areas. The MNRF is asking people to check the Ontario Parks website because they don’t want people up there. In fact, it has been restricted.”

The existing evacuation order remains in effect.

“The people on the mandatory evacuation order, they’re not to be going to their homes at this point. We’ve got about 20 to 25 homes, and we’ve got the motel in town and Temagami Marine on that order. People can get a hold of them if they need their boats. They’re trying to work around that,” said O’Mara.

“The MNRF has an incident management team in and they hope to have the perimeter of the fire handled with hose coverage. Once that’s done they’re hoping we can possibly lift the mandatory order off that area.”

Crews are also trying to get a handle on potential property loss.

“In the area south, there are some places in value protection mode. The Marten River Fire Department is out doing a little bit of that today. From my understanding as of this morning, there hasn’t been any property loss.”

Hydro has been restored to hundreds of customers.

“Because there was a fire on the access road Sunday, the MNRF did shut the lines down going into the lake area. So there was 400 people on the lake that did not have hydro, but that came back on around noon yesterday (Monday).”

The arena had been left open during the day for residents, but it is now closed. Anyone in need of accommodations can contact the municipal office.

“Most of the people who were displaced were in the provincial parks and they just went home. They had to make arrangements with the parks people to get their stuff out and so that’s being done now,“ said O’Mara.

Smoke from the fire has caused some health issues.

“Some seniors were having problems with the smoke. Some of the people have left the area and stayed in motels because especially at night, the smoke seems to drop a bit and that’s been causing some respiratory problems. But overall from Temagami’s point of view, we’ve have been pretty fortunate.”

Fortunate in the sense that the MNRF was already in the area when the inferno broke loose.

“That one hit on Sunday hit hard and it was close to town, we had MNRF resources here immediately. If they were somewhere else in the province we could have had a major problem in Temagami,“ said O’Mara.

“The MNRF has been excellent. They prioritize well from our point of view. They’re in that business. They know what they’re doing, and we’re thankful.”