A high to extreme fire hazard still exists in these regions, according the the MNR, although the situation is being assessed every day. The rain received over night and into today certainly helps with the fire ban; but it brings with it lightning and the potential for new fire starts, according to Lindsay Marks, information officer with the MNR.
“What we do is, after we receive any type of moisture, we reassess the fine fuel moisture content and the ground moisture content to see if we can lift the restricted fire zone,” Marks said. “Those assessments are done on a daily basis.
“For the northeast region, historically, this is a very typical fire season in terms of the number of fires, as well as the amount of land that has been burned. Seasons can vary greatly, and it is very dependent on the weather, as well as a number of other factors.”
The fire ban has been in effect since July 19.
Thirteen new fires were confirmed across the northeast region July 30, with the majority of these fires being in the Sudbury and North Bay areas, as well as southern areas.
Four of these fires, all under one hectare in size, were confirmed in the North Bay area, four in the Sudbury area, two in the Timmins area, and one in each of the Pembroke, Algonquin Park and Bancroft areas.
Larger fires confirmed over the weekend include Cochrane 43 at 700 hectares, and Timmins 47 at 42.4 hectares.
Cochrane 43 was confirmed on July 28. The fire has been receiving suppression support from air attack as well as ground crews since it was confirmed. The fire is expected to receive some relief from precipitation in the area today.
Timmins 47, north of Halfway Lake, was confirmed on July 29. Air attack worked on the fire until dark last night, while ground crews assisted in the efforts. The fire will continue to receive suppression support today.
Meanwhile, across the province, the number of active fires fell to 103; however, fire arrivals are expected for most of the week.
Rain has helped knock back the fire hazard in substantial areas of both the northwest and northeast regions, and more systems will bring additional precipitation into the province this week. There could still be risk of active fire behaviour in the far north of the northwest region today. The Parry Sound, Haliburton and Algonquin Park region could continue to pick up new fires until rain arrives sometime on Aug. 1, according to the MNR.
A declaration of emergency remains in effect for Sandy Lake First Nation due to smoke concerns from forest fires. The MNR is assisting the community with a Stage 1 evacuation of vulnerable residents. Approximately 280 community members were flown to Thunder Bay on July 29-30. This includes children, elders and individuals with health concerns, along with caregivers.
The evacuation is scheduled to be completed today. A further 332 Sandy Lake residents will travel to Thunder Bay and 108 to the host community of Fort Frances. There is optimism that forecast rain could help alleviate the smoke situation near Sandy Lake this week.
To report a forest fire in northern Ontario, call 310-FIRE (3473).
Posted by Arron Pickard