The Northwest Region of Ontario has undergone a horrific fire season, very hot and dry summer conditions with little rain created the presence of many large forest fires.
Recent cooler temperatures and much-needed rain to the region have cooled down fire-rich areas, that previously were out of control blazes.
As the forest fire season dwindles down as summer turns to fall, the MNRF was able to provide an update on the current status of some of the region's larger fires.
“Things are moving in the right direction, and there’s confidence that with both the amount of suppression work that’s been performed on these fires and with the forecasted conditions that these fires really aren’t going anywhere,” said Chris Marchand Fire Information Officer
Throughout the summer the area saw many large forest fires of note, the biggest being the Kenora 51 fire burning over 200,000 hectares. Kenora 51 was labeled out of control for most of the summer but just recently was changed to being held.
Throughout the summer the fire has needed many resources to fight and contain it. 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.
Marchand noted that crews are hard at work on Kenora 51 in a mop-up capacity.
“It’s just such a large area that it takes a significant period of time to be able to make sure that fire down the line isn’t going to offer us any surprises,” added Marchand
The recent rain has also brought added moisture to the ground where Kenora 51 is located lowering the drought code, a term used to determine a numeric rating of the average moisture content of deep, compact organic layers.
Along with Kenora 51, the region had other large forest fires of note, which included Red Lake 51, 65, 77, and Sioux Lookout 60. These fires threatened and forced evacuations of several First Nation communities.
Marchand said that the status of Red Lake 77 has now been changed to under control. That fire threatened the communities around Red Lake over the summer.
Currently, there are 57 active fires in the northwest region. 2 fires are not under control, 1 fire is being held, 11 fires are under control and 43 fires are being monitored. The forest fire hazard is low to moderate across the region.
In total, this fire season Ontario has seen 1177 fires burning over 700,000 hectares.