As of Sunday night, over 75 active wildfires were reported across northern Ontario, prompting evacuation orders and alerts as crews struggle to contain the fires. Acrid smoke has hung in the air in areas west of French River Provincial Park for days, including Algoma District.
Individuals living on St. Joseph Island reached out to me, wondering if there was a forest fire close to the Island on Saturday, July 21, 2018.
Acrid forest fire smoke is making it difficult for Ministry of Natural Resources crews to map the size of French River Provincial Park fire. Police and fire crews evacuated the park, and continue watching waterways monitoring cottages and lodges in hopes of saving them as the huge fire tracks north.
“Assistance from across Canada and as far away as Mexico have joined forest fire fighting efforts in the northeast region,” said the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources on Monday. “Mexican fire crews arrived in Sudbury on July 20, and are deployed to fires around the region.”
One fire near Parry Sound, known as Parry Sound 33, is burning out of control at more than 5,000 hectares, and has prompted a mandatory evacuation for residents with boat access.
“All areas ranging from the western and northern borders of French River Provincial Park, east to Highway 69, and as far south as the south shore of the Key River; including all residents and members of the public on both the north and south shores of the French River, and the Pickerel River, as well as Hartley Bay,” according to the MNRF.
An evacuation alert — meaning residents should be prepared to evacuate when told to — has been issued to residents of the same areas who have road access to their homes.
The Municipality of Killarney, which includes the evacuation zones, declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
“We cannot fathom the environmental impact this will have for now and for years to come.” stated the MNRF spokesperson.
The North East Region OPP are advising the public to stay away from the Key, Pickerel & French River areas so that Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry aviation services aren’t impeded with ongoing fire suppression efforts.
There could be relief on the way for many areas across the northeast, especially after an extremely hot and dry few weeks.
“The showers and thunderstorms will be more numerous and widespread on Tuesday and potentially into Wednesday morning,”