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Parry Sound 33 forest fire grows to 1,900 hectares, jumps Key River

There's now 65 active forest fires across the northeast

Friday was another very active day on the fireline in the northeast region, said an update provided by the province's Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services division.

Increased fire behavior led to the closure of the TransCanada highway due to smoke from forest fires. 

MNRF’s Parry Sound District recommended a mandatory evacuation to the communities of Key Harbour and a small portion of the Municipality of Killarney (south of the French River Provincial Park). 

By the evening of July 20, there were 65 active forest fires across the northeast. Of these, 34 are not yet under control, and 31 are either being held, under control or being observed. 

There were eight new starts in the region Friday.

A very active Parry Sound 33 fire grew considerably to 1,900 hectares. The aggressive fire behaviour early on in the day prompted an evacuation of the Key River area as a precaution. 

Ontario Provincial Police officers and Conservation Officers facilitated the evacuation, and safely guided all residents and members of the public out of the area. 

It has been confirmed that the fire, which had started on the south side of the Key River, has now also spread to the north side of the Key River, into French River Provincial Park.

In another section of Northeast region, three Twin Otters, a lead birddog aircraft, a belly tanker helicopter and one CL415 waterbomber dropped water on Pembroke 5, 6, 7 and 8 throughout the afternoon and into the evening Friday. 

These lightning-caused fires have now grown in size and heavy smoke impacted visibility on Highway 17 east of Bissett Creek today. 

The Ontario Provincial Police closed Highway 17 as a result (it reopened at around 3 a.m. this morning). 

Values protection is also underway (sprinklers on structures) on Pembroke 6, 7 and 8.

FireRanger crews and Greater Sudbury Fire Department firefighters have been battling Sudbury 83, which is located approximately 15 km north of Rayside-Balfour. CL415’s worked on the fire early in the afternoon. 

Once they departed, ground crews continued to coordinate fire suppression efforts with a bucketing helicopter. Throughout the evening however, the fire intensity rose again and two CL415 waterbombers had to return to the scene.

Kirkland Lake 13 is a four-hectare forest fire located approximately 18 km west of Abitibi Lake. It required aerial fire suppression this afternoon. Two CL415 waterbombers and a birddog worked to reduce the fire activity.

Up north in the Cochrane sector, fire Cochrane 8 and Cochrane 14 were both very active. 

On Saturday, a windshift is expected to bring more southeasterly winds with gusts from 30 to 40 km/h. This will continue to challenge fire crews and fire behaviour is expected to be very active.

Incident Management Teams

Incident Management Teams (IMTs) are in place in the region. They are managing priority fires in 3 areas:

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

River Valley Fire Cluster:

There are 125 people working on the two fires in this cluster, with more fire fighters from Mexico expected in the coming days. 

Strong and gusty southerly winds contributed to increased fire activity along the east flank of North Bay 42, which is still not under control. Crews worked to strengthen the line on the south end and the north east portions of the fire today. 

North Bay 62, which is still not under control, did not experience significant growth today and is not expected to grow tomorrow. The east flank of the fire was quite active and the gusty winds pushed the fire back onto itself in this area. Crews worked to strengthen the line on the south and west sides of the fire, as well as on hotspots on the north side. 

Temagami Fire Cluster:

Due to the hot and dry weather there was some activity on fires in the north of the Temagami cluster, sending a large amount of smoke into the air. 

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, 61 and action priority areas with helicopter bucketing.

Value protection systems remain on North Bay 68, 55, and 56 and have been removed from North Bay 69. Firefighters were also able to call North Bay 112 as OUT.

Lady Evelyn Fire Cluster:

Heavy helicopters continued to bucket water onto North Bay 72 today, coordinating with crews on the ground. Fire behaviour was active today with high temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds. 

Crews continue to establish hose line along the east and north perimeter of the fire. The majority of the burn was inside the perimeter of the fire. Moderate growth on the southwest and northeast edge was experienced. Heavy smoke made it difficult to effectively remap this fire and determine how much growth had been experienced. Once visibility improves, the fire will be remapped and the size will be updated on the interactive fire map.

Sprinklers have been running on values on Mendelssohn Lake and Skull Lake for the past two days. Values will be checked Saturday morning along the lakes and the Montreal River.

Ash and smoke pushed north and east of the fire today. Distances of 30 km are not unusual for ash and smoke to travel.

A new lightning fire started last evening on the southeast side of Barter Lake, North Bay 113. Initial attack was carried out this morning.

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, 2 information officers and 9 additional support staff. There are also 3 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 2 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 nine 4 person initial attack crews, two 3 person crews, two agency representatives and 4 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 have now arrived in Sudbury today, this includes five 20 person crews, 2 agency representatives and 2 strike team leaders.

Firefighting equipment

  • British Columbia has provided Ontario with 1,080 lengths of 1.5” hose, thirty power pumps with tool kits, thirty 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, as well as 100 additional fuel containers. They’ve also provided 201 shovels, fifty 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.

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 are on site. It is expected that this 1,900 hectare fire will continue to create smoke in the days to come.
Smoke from Pembroke 5, 6, 7, and 8 will continue to be visible in Bissett Creek and surrounding areas along Hwy 17 tonight and well into tomorrow.
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.

Temagami area information

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been advised by the Municipality of Temagami that the evacuation alert has been lifted in Temagami, and that Fire Tower Road as well as the Fire Tower are now open.

Travel Restrictions

MNRF issued an Emergency Area Order (EAO) for parts of the North Bay District due to active fires around Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater, Lake Temagami and the North Bay District.

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