Extreme fire risk across Manitoulin

Four Type II firefighting crews out of Wiikwemkoong, Espanola and Sudbury were deployed to Haliburton on the morning of July 5 to help fight forest fires in the province. Pictured are, left row, front to back, Elaine Trudeau, Johnny Eshkawkogan, Garrett Manitowabi, Darby Shawongonabe, Andrew Cooper, Timmy Peltier, Gillian Ominika, right side, Shonee Kitchikake, Stuart Trudeau, Jake Wemigwans, Tyler Trudeau, Monte Fox and Andre Rivers. photo by Giselle Aiabens

Fire bans in place across the Island

MANITOULIN––The Sudbury-Manitoulin District is currently at high to extreme risk for forest fires, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), with a restricted fire zone placed on the Northeast region over the weekend, with the exception of Manitoulin Island. However, all Island municipalities have total fire bans in place.

The risk will fluctuate depending on weather station data, explained MNRF’s Isabelle Chenard, fire information officer. “Risk will vary with wind speed and direction, relative humidity and cloud cover. The (forest fire information) map updates in real time.”

MNRF fire information officer Shayne McCool explained that the restricted fire zone was put in place due to much of the Northeast being hit by a lightning storm last week, which caused a number of forest fires to start. Because Manitoulin Island did not receive the same storms or fires, the region, as of press time, does not include Manitoulin Island.

“As we move forward, we will continue to reassess,” Mr. McCool said.

The fire information officer did note that of the 78 fires currently burning in the Northeast, the closest to Manitoulin was on a small island located south of Phillip Edward Island, known as Sudbury 54.

Complete fire bans are in place in Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, Assiginack, Tehkummah, Billings, Central Manitoulin, Burpee and Mills, Gore Bay, Gordon/Barrie Island and Killarney. This means that no fires of any kind are permitted; typically, a complete ban also includes fireworks.

In Whitefish Falls, fires are not allowed between sun-up and sundown.

The unorganized township of Dawson-Robinson will implement a fire ban when or if the MNRF adds Manitoulin to its list.

Local First Nations do not have any official bans in place but are advising their members to use caution due to the extreme fire risk.