Northwestern Ontario has been struck with a horrific forest fire season. Many large forest fires have ignited this summer, destroying natural forests, evacuating communities, and covering the air with thick smoke.

One of the large fires of note has been the Kenora 51 fire that has been labeled out of control for most of the summer.

Today that label has changed as Kenora 51 is now being held, as per an update by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry.

Jonathan Scott an MNRF Fire Information Officer explains what the label “being held” means.

“Being held indicates that with current committed resources, sufficient suppression action has been taken so that the fire is not likely to spread beyond existent or predetermined control boundaries under prevailing or forecasted conditions,” said Scott

The fire is now able to be held due to the recent cooler temperatures and heavy amounts of rain the fire has seen in the past week. Scott says that has reduced the fire behaviour along with the continuous suppression by firefighters.

Going forward crews have a plan in place to keep Kenora 51 at bay.

“Crews will be searching for hot spots on the fire and putting them out. They now will be doing mop-up operations where they will be looking for hot spots and smokes on the fire and putting those smokes out,” added Scott

Throughout the summer the fire has needed many resources to fight and contain it. Scott says at times over 20 crews, many helicopters, heavy equipment, as well an incident management team were among some of the resources assigned to the fire.

Kenora 51 has been blazing through the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park since June 8, 2021, and is 200,667 hectares in size.

To date, 79 active fires are burning in the Northwest Region. Five fires are not under control, 2 fires are being held, 14 fires are under control and 58 fires are being monitored.

Ontario has seen a total of 1173 fires this summer, burning 771,523 hectares in the process, compared to the ten-year average of 763 fires discovered and 162,472 hectares burned.