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Fire crews continue to fight Parry Sound 33 fire, which has caused evacuations south of Sudbury

Fire was 4,841 hectares in size as of Saturday
Sudburian Kevin Shanahan took this photo of the Parry Sound 33 fire from the cottage he'd rented along the Key River before being evacuated by the MNR last week. (Supplied/Kevin Shanahan)

By the evening of July 21, there were 64 active forest fires across the northeast. Of these, 29 are not yet under control, 35 are either being held, under control or being observed. 

That's according to a forest fire situation update issued late Saturday by the province's Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services division. 

Parry Sound 33

Parry Sound 33 was very active once again Saturday. According to the latest information provided by the province, the fire is 4,841 hectares in size.

Fire crews continued to co-ordinate fire suppression work with bucketing helicopters and to set-up values protection (sprinklers on structures) in the area. 

Five CL415 waterbombers worked together with a lead birddog aircraft to drop water on the forest fire. An Incident Management Team will be deployed to this fire in the coming days. 

Smoke was noted in many surrounding areas. 

In the interest of public safety, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)’s Parry Sound district recommended Saturday that the communities, municipalities and townships within the area below impose a mandatory evacuation of their residents with boat access only:

  • All areas ranging from the western and northern borders of French River Provincial Park, east to Highway 69, and as far south as the south shore of the Key River; including all residents and members of the public on both the north and south shores of the French River, and the Pickerel River, as well as Hartley Bay.
  • There is also a recommendation by the MNRF Parry Sound district to impose an evacuation alert to all residents within this area who have road access to their residences or cottages. These residents should be prepared to evacuate pending a change in the fire situation.
  • In addition, the MNRF’s Sudbury district has recommended that all residents along Hartley Bay Road be placed on an evacuation alert, pending changes to the fire situation.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Conservation Officers are currently on site helping notify the public of the situation, and facilitating this evacuation.
Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services has also been advised by Ontario Parks that the French River Provincial Park is fully closed west of Highway 69/400. All campers have been or are being evacuated.

Pembroke 5, 6, 7 and 8

These fires once again prompted the Ontario Provincial Police to close Highway 17 due to smoke and reduced visibility for a short time Saturday. 

They are now sized as follows: Pembroke 5 covers 24.2 hectares, Pembroke 7 covers 40 hectares, and it was confirmed today that Pembroke 6 and 8 which covered 180 and 20 hectares respectively have now merged into one fire. 

A total of two Twin Otters and four CL415 waterbombers took turns dropping water on these fires in order to reduce the fire intensity.

Bancroft 18

To the west of Bon Echo Provincial Park is a six hectare lightning-caused forest fire that required aerial fire suppression from two Twin Otters and one CL415 waterbomber. A newly confirmed fire, Peterborough 4, to the south of Bon Echo Provincial Park is being held tonight at 0.8 of a hectare. 

Cochrane 8

This lightning-caused fire was remapped this morning at 130 hectares. Not yet under control, it required air support on July 20th. It has six crews assigned, a helicopter and heavy equipment committed.

Incident Management Teams

Incident Management Teams (IMTs) are in place in the region. They are managing priority fires in three areas:

  • River Valley Cluster
  • Lake Temagami Cluster
  • Lady Evelyn Cluster 

River Valley Fire Cluster:

There are 167 people working on the two fires in this cluster, including 42 firefighters from Mexico that arrived this afternoon in River Valley. 
North Bay 62, a 2,500 hectare fire southwest of Hand Lake, is still not under control. 
The northeast section and the west side of the fire were quite active. However, crews worked to strengthen the line and extinguishing hotspots. The fire did not experience significant growth. 
Helicopters continued to bucket water on the east side of North Bay 42, a 350 hectare fire north of Red Cedar Lake. Crews made good progress on this fire, which had no significant growth. 

Temagami Fire Cluster:

Due to the recent hot and dry weather there was some activity on fires on the north side of the Temagami cluster. Crews continue to patrol and mop up: North Bay 55, 56, 68 and 69. Firefighters also continue to monitor: North Bay 18, 19, 46, 47 and 61 and action priority areas with helicopter bucketing. 
Value protection systems remain on North Bay 55 and 56, and have been removed from North Bay 68 and 69. 
North Bay 69, which had previously caused the evacuation of 20 homes in the Temagami area, is now under control. 
Friday brought extreme fire behaviour and burning conditions and North Bay 72 grew to 21,516 hectares. Heavy helicopters continued to bucket water onto this fire, coordinating with crews on the ground. 
Fire behaviour was active again today with high temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds. Crews continue to establish hose line and work the fire’s edge. There was moderate growth on the perimeter of the fire with interior green islands burning as well. Value protection systems continue to run on values on Mendelssohn Lake, Skull Lake and Cook Lake.
The team is continuing to observe North Bay 59.

Resources From Out of Province

  • Saskatchewan has provided one 20 person sustained attack crew, two safety officers, one agency representative, one radio operator, five additional support staff and an air tanker package. 
  • Alberta has supplied fifteen 4 person initial attack fire crews, two additional 8 person crews, one 19 person Incident Management Team, two agency representatives, six division supervisors, two information officers and 9 additional support staff. There are also three air tanker packages in addition to fire suppression equipment such as pumps and hose.
  • British Columbia has supplied twenty 3 person initial attack crews, two 19 person sustained attack crews and two agency representatives.
  • Nova Scotia has supplied five 4 person initial attack crews, one safety officer and one agency representative.
  • Prince Edward Island has supplied a 4 person initial attack crew.
  • Newfoundland has supplied two 4 person initial attack crew.
  • Northwest Territories has supplied eight 4 person initial attack crews, three 3 person crews, two agency representatives and four additional support staff.
  • Minnesota has supplied one air support group supervisor, a helibase manager trainee and a 20 person sustained attack crew.
  • Wisconsin has supplied one 8 person attack crew.
  • 104 people from Mexico arrived in Sudbury Saturday, this includes five 20 person crews, two agency representatives and two strike team leaders.

Firefighting equipment

  • British Columbia has provided Ontario with 1,080 lengths of 1.5” hose, 30 power pumps with tool kits, 30 intake hose, 230 fuel containers, 200 backpack pumps and 200 axes.
  • Alberta has provided 960 lengths of 1.5” hose, fifty power pumps with tool kits, intake hose, fuel containers, and 100 additional fuel containers. They’ve also provided 201 shovels, 50 pulaskis and 30 chest coolers.
  • The Northwest Territories has sent 1,000 lengths of 1.5” hose to the province of Ontario. 
  • Nova Scotia is sending 25 power pump kits, tool kits, intake hose and fuel container.

More out-of-province resources headed to Ontario

More firefighting personnel are expected to arrive in Ontario to assist with the forest fire situation: 21 people from Saskatchewan and 59 people from Alberta are scheduled to arrive Sunday.

Smoke concerns

Parry Sound 33 continues to create a significant amount of smoke along Hwy 69, south of Grundy Lake Provincial Park. Aerial fire suppression and ground crews will continue to suppress this fire tomorrow. It is expected that this 4,841 hectare fire will continue to create smoke in the days to come.
Many Ontario residents have reported smoke drift in their communities. Smoky conditions are expected to continue when fires are active, until weather patterns change.
AFFES is reminding the public that if they do see flames or smoke, please report it, and stay away from the area in the interest of public safety.
If you have questions or concerns about smoke and your health, please contact Tele Health Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

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