The smell of smoke in the air
Published Thursday, July 12, 2018 12:11PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2018 6:37PM EDT
Police and fire officials in Greater Sudbury have been getting a lot of calls about the smell of smoke in the air Thursday morning.
Officials say the smell is actually coming from the active forest fire still burning in Temagami, but some of the smoke from Northern Ontario fires is also being seen as far away as Muskoka and as far north as Timmins.
Fire officials say it’s not growing or coming close to the city, but that the wind is simply carrying smoke and there is no cause for alarm. The smoke is coming from hundres of kilometres away.
Shayne McCool is a fire information officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
"With the wind direction we saw last night, pushing the smoke further to the south, we did have many reports of smokes across the northeast." said McCool.
There is also smoke in the air in Timmins, and the MNRF says that is likely coming from a fire in the Elk Lake area, west of New Liskeard.
"Just the sheer size of that type of fire does put up smoke into the higher levels of the atmosphere. And, once it gets into that form of the jet stream, it can carry a long distance as we've seen evidence of in the last day or so." said McCool.
While smoke in the air is never a good thing, public health officials say the risk from the haze settling over the city is low.Now, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says it has made progress on fighting some of those fires, but remains concerned about a cluster near River Valley.
He says the number to pay attention to is the Air Quality Health Index, or AQHI. That measures the quality of the air we breathe and the risk to our health. The scale goes from one to 10 and even with all the smoke lingering in the air on Thursday, the AQHI was only sitting at a two in Sudbury.Firefighters and other resources from out of province have come to assist.
However, there are still some who should avoid breathing in too much of the hazy air.
"People who have health risks, heart conditions, lung conditions, severe asthma, they're going to want to avoid doing things like serious exercise outside." said Burgess.MNRF officials say, over the past two weeks they have recorded a total of 165,000 lightning strikes throughout the province. Those strikes have resulted in several new fire starts in the north eastern region.
Isabelle Chenard is a fire information officerMNRF.
"We have 66 active forest fires, 27 of those are not under control at this time. We've seen 15 new starts yesterday, most of them lightning caused, and of those, 7 are already out." said Chenard.
With the high number of active forest fires in the region, fire crews from Alberta and British Columbia have arrived in Ontario to help assist with the fire situation.
"We have approximately 90 new forest fire fighters in the province as of Monday night, and they have been assigned to fires as of last night. And we also have some water bombers in from Alberta and Saskatchewan." said Chenard.
The recent evacuation that took place on Sunday in Temagami is still in effect, as well as recent road closures.
"The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry district office in North Bay has imposed some road closures. People that are west of the area that has been under mandatory evacuation have been placed on notice that if the fire situation does escalate, they may also have to leave the area." said Chenard.
MNRF officials say they expect to find new lightning fires as the week progresses.
They are encouraging the public to report any smoke or flames to fire officials.