A special air quality statement has been issued by Environment Canada for Kirkland Lake, Englehart, New Liskeard and Temagami areas.
Environment Canada stated on Friday, July 13 that elevated pollution levels are expected or occurring.
“Possible high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires are expected to continue. Air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level,” Environment Canada states.
“Forest fires southeast of Temiskaming are creating smoke which is moving north-northeastward in a moderate south to southwesterly flow. Winds will gradually become light west-southwesterly this late this evening changing the areas experiencing poor air quality tonight.
“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk,” Environment Canada added.
“People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits,” Environment Canada concluded.
Firefighting efforts are underway to combat a 12,000-hectare fire that originated in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park and has spread northeast beyond the park boundaries.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reported that three water bombers began working on the fire, named North Bay 72, Wednesday night.
It said sprinklers have been set up areas of Kenabeek and Speight and Auld townships as a precautionary measure.
In Temagami, meanwhile, the mandatory evacuation order for an area immediately south of Temagami South has been lifted.
But residents in that area as well as Temagami South and south to the Lake Temagami Access Road remain on evacuation alert.
All provincial parks in the area, including Finlayson Point and Marten River, remain closed.
The ministry has also issued an Emergency Area Order for parts of the North Bay District due to active fires around Lake Temagami and Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater.
It restricts access and travel to backcountry parks, including Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater, Obabika River, Makobe-Grays River, Solace and Sturgeon River.
Unauthorized travel and use of the following roads is restricted – McLaren’s Road, Gibbons Road, Baie-Jeanne Road, South Pardo Road, St. Joseph’s Road including George Gordon and Iron Lake Road, Cooke Lake Road, Beauty Lake Road, Roadhouse Tower Road, Mountain Lake Road, Klock Road, Goulard Road starting at Lower Goose Falls, as well as Red Squirrel Road beyond the Barmac Gate.
The restrictions extend to all use and occupation of Crown land or within 500 metres of the closed roads.
For further information, see www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires.
For road closures and restricted access areas, see https://files.ontario.ca/20180710_2018-01-nor01.pdf.