Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fire Update

National Fire Update by The Working Forest

Kirkland Lake Fire # 8 Via MNR

Although the weekend did not bring about any new major fires, Timmins remains in a state of emergency due to wildland fire and parts of Quebec have experienced worsening conditions. As of yesterday there remains a moderate level of fire hazards across Canada with the exception of Northeastern Ontario and parts of Quebec. 

The most notable fire taking place in Ontario at the moment is in Timmins while Quebec’s most active fire is taking place in the Senneterre area. Most provinces have low to moderate wildland fire hazard and load with a moderate potential for increased load. Wildland fire activity is occurring and a potential exists for escapes to larger fires. National resource levels remain adequate to meet occurring and anticipated wildland fire activity.
There are currently 367 fires in Ontario burning at a total of 49,576 hectares.
Saturday May 26 brought improvements to the fire situation in Northeastern Ontario. While conditions still supported extreme burning in some areas, decreasing easterly winds and falling temperatures slowed the spread of major fires.
 Major fires in the northeast continued to receive aggressive action with aircraft, heavy equipment and ground crews. The areas where fire Timmins 9 crossed Highway 144 and Kenogamissi Lake were attacked vigorously and good progress was made. The fire has not progressed any further north towards Timmins but remains active on its southwest side due to easterly winds.
Timmins 9 is currently 39518 hectares in size. The fire did cross Hwy. 144 near the Cache Campground area and McKeown Creek recreation area on Kenogamissi Lake. 

The fire has not crossed Hwy. 101. The City of Timmins remains in a state of emergency.

With rain forecast to continue until about Wednesday. This helpful weather will allow more resources to deploy around major fires. However, several weeks of concerted effort will still be needed to bring larger fires, Timmins 9 in particular, completely under control.
In Kirkland Lake, fire Kirkland Lake 8 (located three kilometres north of the community) continued to be held in check and is currently 2635 hectares in size. The fire is still “Not Under Control” but it has not grown and is not posing a threat to the community at this time. Fire Kirkland Lake 13, located west of Highway 65, was very active and required sustained attack with helicopters and CL-415 waterbombers. However, the fire is presently posing only a minimal threat to values in the area.
In Hearst district, fire Hearst 9 reached a size of 970 hectares but its growth was then slowed substantially due to aggressive waterbombing.
Northwestern Ontario has received significant rainfall this week that has brought the fire hazard to minimal levels across the region. Over the last several days, 39 crews from the Northwest have redeployed to the Northeast to assist with the fire fighting effort.
Other provinces that are assisting Ontario with aircraft and personnel are British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland. There are currently 102 out of province staff working in Ontario. Additional crews from western Canada are expected to arrive on Monday. There are 15 CL-415/CL-215 waterbombers, four Twin Otter intermediate waterbombers, 78 helicopters and approximately 1,300 total personnel working on forest fires in the province as of yesterday. 
Currently, 32 fires are active in Quebec. Since the beginning of the season protection, 271 forest fires have affected 32 381 ha. The average of the last ten years on the same date was 192 for fire affected an area of ​​27,571 ha. 
Smoke odors are perceptible today in various regions of Quebec. This smoke is produced primarily by the fires that are found in the eastern province of Ontario and western Quebec.
People are to be warned that detecting the smell of smoke may not be a need to worry. This is a quite normal phenomenon when several fires are raging simultaneously. In such situations, the smoke generated by forest fires can travel great distances depending on wind. Currently, the plumes of smoke across Quebec  may be noticeable for several hours and spread to several regions.

Given the size of the fire in the Senneterre area (18,989 hectares) and operations that occur there, the ban on open fires is maintained.
Hazard Levels 
Yukon, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are currently rated as a level 1 fire hazard and load.
Alberta, Newfoundland and New Brunswick is currently listed as a level 2 fire hazard and load.
Ontario, Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia are rated as a level 3 fire hazard and load. Assistance is required to keep fire related areas in check.
Quebec is currently rated at a level 4 fire hazard and load. Assistance is inadequate in quelling the fires and there is consideration in the potential for international support.  
There have been 27 fires reported in the last 24 hours, 2,075 fires to date, and 109,718 hectares burned to date compared to last year with 1,190 fires and 389,343 hectares to date.
Trees have a huge value which can be estimated easily on a national or provincial average. At the present low value of lumber a hectare’s loss is $15- $20,000 in lumber value at an average. Each hectare of burned forest also represents an estimated loss of $6-$800 in Crown revenue and a further $6-$800 in renewal revenue.
The average of $20,000 has been calculated per hectare of forest commercial value.
This year there has been a total of 109,718 hectares burned to date. That is a total a loss of over $2.19 billion if a hectare of Canada’s forest is worth an average of $20,000.

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