More fires erupt in region

The forest fire situation continues to be hectic, with 24 new blazes reported by the end of the day yesterday across Northwestern Ontario.
This brings the number of active fires to 127, covering a total of 11,108.7 hectares. There has been a total of 624 fires to date, having consumed 12,471.6 ha.
Fort Frances District saw one new fire yesterday, bringing the number of active fires up to 19 and the fires to date total to 83.
Fort Frances Fire #83 is a 0.3-ha, lightning-caused blaze near Namakan Lake, currently classified as “under control.”
With so much fire activity, fire information officer Travis Moffatt noted the MNR’s fire resources are being fully utilized.
“It’s a high number of fire starts we’ve seen in the first 20 days of July,” he said. “The Ministry of Natural Resources has responded to a total of 346 new fires in 20 days, so all our resources are committed to forest fighting efforts.”
Moffatt added the MNR has 866 forest firefighters active in the region, including 95 Type 2 sustained action crews, 17 three-person FireRanger crews from eastern Ontario, and more than 30 fire personnel from Alberta.
As well, an order has been submitted to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre for an additional 50 fire crews, overhead staff, and a Type 1 incident command team.
But Moffatt said there’s been no update on that request, adding that firefighting forces across Western Canada are being taxed due to the high level of fire activity.
Moffatt added with large fires burning in Quetico Provincial Park and near Vermilion Bay, as well as at Cavity Lake in northern Minnesota, area residents may be seeing smoke in the air.
If you are concerned about the health effects of smoke from forest fires, contact your local health unit.
The fire hazard is still “high” to “extreme” across the region, and the Restricted Fire Zone declared Tuesday remains in effect. This means all burning permits are suspended and all open fires are prohibited until further notice.
People still can use portable gas stoves for cooking and warmth, but the public is urged to exercise extreme caution.
Anyone with questions regarding the fire ban can drop by the local MNR office or call the fire management headquarters at 274-8643.
To report a wildfire in Northwestern Ontario, call 1-888-284-FIRE (3473).