Friday, October 31, 2014

Fire hazard on rise

The forest fire hazard is climbing for the Thunder Bay, Nipigon, and Greenstone areas.
Warm sunny afternoons, high winds, and little rainfall have increased the forest fire hazard to “high” and “extreme” in these areas.

Five active fires remain in the Northwest Region, including four listed as “being observed” and one small blaze listed as “under control.”
All five are located in the far north.
No problems are anticipated with these fires as they do not pose a threat to people or property.
The public is reminded to be safe with all outdoor fires, such as campfires and shore lunches.
It only takes seconds for a campfire to turn into a wildfire, especially on hot, sunny, windy days.
In related news, curiosity drives people—and nothing draws a crowd faster than a CL-415 heavy waterbomber scooping water and dropping it on a forest fire.
The big tankers are a combination of power, size, and acrobatic movement as they swoop down from the sky, skimming across the lake at high speed, scooping water through small probes on the under body, and then lifting off and flying to a wildfire target.
The safest way for boaters to operate in the presence of a waterbomber is to move away from the area immediately.
This prevents any chance of collision, and lessens the impact of the large wake a waterbomber can create in the water.
It also is important to know that waterbombers usually operate in circuits—flying to the lake, scooping, and flying off to drop their load on the fire, then circling back to the lake to repeat the process.
This means boaters have to watch for the waterbomber’s return.
Often, more than one waterbomber works on a fire and they set up circuit patterns with one dropping a load on the fire and one or more en route to the lake for more water.
The operation of waterbombers is strictly regulated. If boaters come too close, or there is any potential safety hazard, then the waterbombers will be forced to find another location to scoop water.
This may place them further away from the fire and result in a longer turnaround time to get water on the fire.
When every minute counts in wildfire management, an unnecessary delay in waterbombing could be critical.

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