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Rain helps fight fires in NW Ontario, Red Lake travel restricted

Jul 15, 2019 07:51AM ● By Editor
Heavy equipment and bucketing helicopter working on Red Lake Fire 40. Photo: AFFES

From the Kenora Daily Miner and News - July 15, 2019

Fire crews continue to battle blazes in Northwestern Ontario affecting First Nation communities. 

Red Lake Fire 23, located eight kilometres south of Keewaywin has been re-mapped at 956 square kilometres in size, according to the July 13 fire report from Aviation, Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES). 

The community set up sprinklers and fire-fighting infrastructure maintenance is ongoing, while crews continued to work on small spot fires along Donson Creek and Dawson River. Ignition teams are continuing to look for opportunities to bring the fire to natural boundaries on the south side of the fire, according to AFFES. 

Red Lake Fire 39 near Pikangikum First Nation is 507 square kilometres in size, the fire is being managed by an incident management team as part of a larger cluster of fires. The fire has received “substantial rain” according to the AFFES fire report, this has helped suppression efforts. 

Firefighters continue to establish hose lines on the east flank, north to south of the fire. Crews are working to extinguish hotspots on the fire. Sprinkler systems remain in place. 

Red Lake Fire 40 is not under control — it’s burned 328 square kilometres and is located near Nungesser Lake, approximately 40 kilometres north of Red Lake. There are 46 crews assigned with five additional crews arriving Saturday.  

There was one new forest fire confirmed July 13, Sioux Lookout Fire 30 is not under control at four hectares and is located near Hill Lake, approximately 77 kilometres northwest of Weagamow First Nation. There are 15 active fires in the region as of July 13, five fires are not under control, two fires are under control and eight fires are being observed. 

Travel in the Red Lake region has been restricted due to forest fires. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry issued an implementation order July 9 which prohibits access and travel in portions of the Red Lake district. For the full list of roads not accessible, visit the AFFES website. 

The fire hazard is predominantly low to moderate with areas of high hazard in the far north of the Red Lake and Sioux Lookout districts and along the north shore of Lake Superior. 

To report a forest fire, call 310-FIRE (3473). 

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