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Busy weekend for forest fires in northwest Ontario.

Aug 12, 2018 03:30PM ● By Editor
Kenora Fire 71 is the largest wildfire burning in the northwest. Fire crews have it under control, the MNRF said.(MNRF/Submitted)

From CBC News · August 12, 2018 

It was another busy weekend in northwestern Ontario's forest fire season.

Thirteen new fires were reported on Saturday, and another three on Sunday as of mid-afternoon.

Those bring the total burning in the region to 78, said Jonathan Scott, fire information officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"At this time ... a lot of the fires have been small and quite manageable," Scott said. "A lot of them from [Saturday] are being held under control, or out already."

Kenora Fire 71 under control

The largest fire in the region is Kenora Fire 71, which was more than 10,200 hectares on Sunday.

"That fire is under control, as well," Scott said. "They've been doing really good work on it, and crews are working on the interior of the fire, extinguishing smokes."

Still, an emergency order remains in place in areas around Kenora Fire 71 and all use of Werner Lake Road from the Manitoba border east to the end of the road is prohibited due to the fire. There are also restrictions in place on the use of Crown land in the area.

Meanwhile, Scott said a cluster of fires in Ontario's far north, near the community of Fort Severn, is being monitored. There is no direct threat to the community but smoke could be an issue.

Smoke from west coast drifts into region

Smoke from wildfires burning in British Columbia and the western United States is also becoming a concern in the northwest, Scott said, as the smoke drifts in to the region.

"[Saturday], it was really concentrated around the Manitoba border," he said. "It should affect areas throughout Ontario [Sunday]."

The fire hazard is predominantly high across the northwest, with areas of extreme hazard in the Kenora, Fort Frances, and Dryden districts, as well as the northern parts of the Red Lake and Sioux Lookout districts.

The fire hazard in the Thunder Bay and north shore areas ranges from moderate to low, the MNRF said. 

So far this year, there have been 1028 wildfires in Ontario, up from 466 last year, the MNRF said.

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