Many large forest fires are blazing through Northwestern Ontario causing one of the worst forest fire seasons in recent history.
The biggest, baddest fire of them all this fire season has been the Kenora 51 fire, which is currently mapped at 200,667 hectares, and burning approximately 120 kilometres north of Kenora.
“The work continues on this fire and it really is quite a large fire and spans some 80 kilometres north to south and is about 50 kilometres wide. It really hasn’t gained appreciably in size in a week or two. There is still a lot of fire out there and a lot of people engaged in fire protection activity,” said MNRF Fire Information Officer Chris Marchand
In Ontario alone, 716,458 hectares have been accounted to fire landscape and the Kenora 51 alone makes up 28 per cent of that number.
To look deeper into the numbers, Kenora 51 alone is larger than the 10-year average for the total hectares burned in the entire province to this date in a season (162,069).
Marchand added that the fire behaviour is on the rise due to the recent hot and humid temperatures the area has seen, along with little to no rain.
Crews are battling the fire at all sides especially the more active east side, holding pinch points, which could be an area between two lakes to prevent the fire from advancing further east. Bucket helicopters are being used to add water to the fire, along with setting up pumps and hoses to fight the fire on the ground.
On the fire’s west side, crews supported by bucketing helicopters are establishing hose lines and limiting the spread of the fire in the direction of the Davidson Lake area.
On the fire’s southeastern flank, crews supported by bucketing helicopters are establishing hose lines in the Fletcher Lake, Rowdy Lake and Right Lake areas.
Heavy equipment continues to develop fireguards to the east and south of the fire
As residents of the Whitedog Independent Nation return to their homes, crews are in the community removing the value protection systems as well.
Crews from all across Canada, Mexico and Australia have been called in to assist Ontario firefighters to battle the blazes.
“Presently we’ve seen 8 crew members from Newfoundland, equipment from Quebec and Nova Scotia, as well as 9 crew members from New Brunswick, over 100 from Mexico, 20 people from Australia and 70 people from Alberta. We certainly appreciate the assistance. When we have a big fire season like this with lot’s of incidents on the landscape, it takes a lot of manpower to help prevent those fires from posing threats to communities. They’ve certainly been a great help to us," says Marchand
Over course of the fire season, the province has seen a total of 1122 fires, burning over 500,000 hectares.