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Wildfire west of Sudbury prompts evacuation order, total active fires in northern Ont. grows to 54

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A northern Ontario forest fire that started west of Sudbury on Sunday morning has grown to more than 1,000 hectares and has prompted officials to issue an evacuation order for the immediate area as the number of active fires in the region grows.

Sudbury 17 is a wildfire that is located between RR810 and Mississagi Provincial Park and is not under control, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said.

Sudbury 17, located about two kilometres west of RR810 east of Mississagi Provincial Park, has grown to 335 ha in two days. Aerial suppression happened June 4 and is still not under control. (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)

 It is north of the communities of Massey and Elliot Lake west of Sudbury.

"The fire is located north of Madaweson Lake. This fire has exhibited high to extreme fire behaviour, fire crews are conducting values protection and suppression is ongoing," MNRF said.

An emergency area order was declared for the following areas June 5:

"All persons must immediately evacuate the listed areas unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the MNRF:

  • All travel and use of Highway 810 (also known as the Massey Tote Rd) north of the 17-mile crossover at UTM Zone 17 E 412333 N 5152544
  • All travel and use of Highway 810 (also known as the Massey Tote Rd) south of Ritchie Falls at UTM Zone 17 E 403379 N 5177353

Wednesday evening, the evacuation area was expanded to:

"The townships of Olinyk, Plourde (south half), Prescott, Redden (west half), Strain, Teasdale, Poncet, Lehman, Lockeyer, Gerow and Gaiashik, unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry;

Specifically, all travel and use of Highway 553 (also known as the Massey Tote Rd) south of Cameron Creek at UTM Zone 17 E 408201 N 5136071, as outlined on the attached Implementation Order map within the EAO.

All travel and use of Pecors Rd at the Joubin, Gaiashik Township boundary at UTM Zone 17 E 389417 N 5136617, as outlined on the attached Implementation Order map within the EAO

All persons are prohibited from entering the area indicated on the attached map unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry." 

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All travel and use of the following areas is prohibited unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Sudbury District MNRF:

  • Highway 810 (also known as the Massey Tote Rd) north of the 17-mile crossover at UTM Zone 17 E 412333 N 5152544
  • Highway 810 (also known as the Massey Tote Rd) south of the Ritchie Falls at UTM Zone 17 E 403379 N 5152544
  • John’s Creek Rd at Porter Cree at UTM Zone 17 E 446601 N 5145635
  • Fox Lake Rd at Centre Creek at UTM Zone 17 E 446870 N 5162934," the MNRF said.

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Travel, use and access restrictions put in place under an implantation order by the MNRF for the Hearst-Cochrane-Kapuskasing area on Saturday were expanded at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Restrictions that were put in place May 31 in the Chapleau-Wawa area due to the Wawa 3 fire near White River are continuing.

FOREST FIRE UPDATE

As of Wednesday morning, the number of active forest fires in northern Ontario has reached 54 with 10 new wildfires Tuesday. Thirty of those active fires are not under control, an increase of seven from Tuesday.

There are 33 active forest fires in the northeast and 21 in the northwest.

In the last 24 hours, five new fires started in the northeast and seven started in the northwest.

The largest new fire in the northeast is Hearst 5 at 90 ha and it is not under control.

"The fire is located 36 kilometers south of Highway 11 and just north of Macvicar Creek," MNRF said Tuesday night.

There are 10 active fires in the northeast that are 100 ha or more:

  • Wawa 3 near White River has grown to 6,678.1 ha
  • Cochrane 7 has more than doubled in size in one day and sits at 4,256.4 ha
  • Cochrane 6 remains at 1,239 ha
  • Sudbury 17 tripled in size to 1,024 ha in one day
  • Chapleau 3 grew from 80 ha to 700 ha in one day
  • Chapleau 6 remains at 209 ha
  • Sudbury 10 grew by more than 50 per cent to 120 ha
  • Timmins 7 remains at 120 ha
  • Wawa 2 remains at 105 ha and is now under control

Since the first Ontario forest fire April 12, 182 wildfires have started, 128 have been extinguished and more than 37,000 ha have burned.

SMOKE

Heavy smoke conditions continue in the northeast and is affecting the air quality.

"Smoke drift is travelling as far as north of Timmins, down through Sudbury and past Parry Sound," MNRF said.

Forest fire smoke can be harmful to your health, so officials recommend taking precautions to reduce exposure.

"See smoke and are unsure if you should call it in? Generally, if you see a column of smoke, give us a call at 310-FIRE (3473) if you’re located north of the French and Mattawa Rivers (or 911 if you’re south of these rivers); otherwise, check our interactive fire map or the above smoke-related websites to determine if what you’re seeing is drifting heavy smoke," MNRF said.

FIRE BANS IN EFFECT

Many northern Ontario communities have issued municipal fire bans in addition to the regionally restricted fire zone that went into effect June 1.

This prohibits open-air burning, including campfires.

"Portable gas or propane stoves may be used for cooking and warmth but must be handled with extreme caution. All burning permits are suspended," MNRF said.

Failure to comply with the fire ban could result in a fine of up to $25,000, three months in jail and financial responsibility for any costs incurred in fighting a forest fire caused by the illegal blaze.

PLANES AND DRONES

Residents are asked to stay clear of waterbombers that scoop up water from area lakes.

"If you see one flying overhead while fishing or enjoying time on the water, move to shore as safely as possible to allow room for them to perform their scoop," MNRF said on social media.

Officials are also reminding people it is illegal to fly a drone within nine kilometres of a wildfire, as it is dangerous for firefighters and pilots.

More details can be found on the ministry's forest fire page.

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