Travel restrictions imposed due to forest fire activity in the Fort Frances District

By Megan Walchuk

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Fort Frances District, is advising the public that due to extreme forest fire activity from the Fort Frances 47 fire, an Implementation Order is now in effect until further notice that restricts access and use of certain roads and Crown lands. 

All travel, use and access to the following areas are prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Fort Frances District Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

This includes all travel on Northwest Bay Road outside of Naicatchewenin First Nation, including West Spencer Road, Woody Road, Alex Road, and Kaiarskon South Road. Also including Charles Road south of the kilometre marker 24 and all branch roads associated with the previously identified road networks.

All use or occupation of Crown lands, on or within 500 metres of the identified roads, is prohibited.

Fort Frances 47 is a 437 hectare fire, which began on June 23, but quickly grew, due to dry and windy conditions. It remains classed as not under control. It is approximately three kilometres northwest of the community of Naicatchewenin First Nation, also known as Northwest Bay.

The fire has 12 crews dispatched, with more expected in the coming days, as they become available, according to Chris Marchand, information officer for the MNRF. Bombers have been active since the blaze began, to suppress the activity, and give ground crews a chance to establish lines on the ground.

The fire is burning away from Naicatchewenin First Nation, which is not under direct threat at this time. However, changing winds have pushed smoke into the community, prompting some residents to voluntarily evacuate due to poor air quality.

Water bombers were used to reduce fire intensity on Thursday afternoon, and the fire has responded well. However, the forecast is calling for warm weather, little precipitation, and scattered thunderstorms, which have increased vigilance against the blaze.

“Its proximity to a community makes this a big priority for the fire service,” said Marchand. “Any time you see a fire this close to a population, you’ll see that aggressive response.”

For information on how to obtain a travel permit please call 807-271-0216.