DISTRICT (Special) — The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) reported that by the evening of August 4, there were 44 active forest fires across the northeast. Of these, 19 are not yet under control, 25 are either being held, under control or being observed.
There were no new fires confirmed Saturday, August 4.
Nine forest fires are still active to the south and west of Fort Severn in the Far North. FireRanger crews and Coastal Rangers are responding.
Incident Management Teams (IMTs) are in place in the region. They are managing priority fires in the following areas: Lady Evelyn Cluster; Parry Sound 33; and the Pembroke Cluster.
The MNRF stated that the Lady Evelyn Fire Cluster was first recorded on July 8, 2018. it measures 27,285 hectares and is not under control. All heavy equipment assigned to the fire has been released. Values protection equipment remains in place. Travel restrictions around this fire remain in place. Fire activity was quiet throughout the day August 4. There are approximately 200 FireRangers assigned to this fire. Ten helicopters remain assigned to the cluster.
Ontario is receiving support from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to assist with the fire situation. A total of 593 firefighters and support staff are currently in the province.
Alberta is providing personnel, equipment and aircraft.
British Columbia is providing equipment.
Newfoundland is providing personnel and equipment.
Northwest Territories is providing personnel, equipment and aircraft.
Nova Scotia is providing equipment.
Prince Edward Island is providing personnel.
New Brunswick is providing personnel.
Saskatchewan is providing personnel and equipment.
Quebec is providing personnel and aircraft.
Minnesota, USA, is providing personnel.
Wisconsin, USA, is providing personnel.
Mexico is providing personnel.
Parks Canada is providing personnel.
Additional personnel and equipment are expected to arrive in the province in the coming days.
The MNRF also states that due to the extreme fire hazard, several recent periods of heavy lightning, little precipitation and increased forest fire activity, the Restricted Fire Zone has been expanded to include parts of the Southern Region of Ontario. This expansion of the current Restricted Fire Zone will remain in place until further notice.
The expanded Restricted Fire Zone now includes Zones 24, 25, & 26 which would include areas south of the French River, including Parry Sound, from Georgian Bay east to the Quebec border, including Algonquin Provincial Park and from Renfrew north to Mattawa.
During a Restricted Fire Zone, the use of open fires – such as campfires, or burning of brush or debris is restricted. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to $25,000 and three months in jail, as well as financial responsibility for the costs incurred in fighting a forest fire.
Portable gas or propane stoves are permitted for use for cooking or warmth, though they should be closely monitored. Portable charcoal BBQs and Hibachis are not permitted unless within 100 metres of a dwelling, or within an organized campground.
Commercial campground operators may allow their guests to enjoy campfires during a Restricted Fire Zone period provided they meet certain conditions in the Outdoor Fires Regulation (207/96).
The Restricted Fire Zone is a temporary measure to reduce the number of new human-caused wildfires as the Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services branch of the OMNRF expects the elevated forest fire hazard to continue into the foreseeable future.