The province said on Friday that the Mexican Forest Fire Brigade will arrive in Ontario this weekend to help fire extinguishing efforts in the northwest.
The province said it expects more than 100 firefighters and support personnel to arrive in Toronto on Saturday, who will help the fire fighting in northwestern Ontario.
The province said in a press release that workers from Mexico will listen to a briefing on the cancellation of the prevention, safety and COVID-19 agreement before accepting the task. During their stay in Ontario, they will stay in their team.
A 17-person crew from Atlantic Canada was also sent to Ontario. No more details were provided, including when the firefighters are expected to arrive.
The official Twitter account of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry thanked international partners including Quebec and Wisconsin for helping the work of Northwest Ontario:
We would like to take a moment to thank all the international partners from Quebec, Wisconsin and Mexico for their support of Ontario #FireRangers Work with them in fire fighting in the Northwest. Thank you for your hard work! #NorthAmericaWorkingTogether pic.twitter.com/yKmEKO3DTj
The province said that as of Friday morning, nearly 90 forest fires were burning in northwestern Ontario.
Twenty-two people are in Honghu District. According to a statement issued by Mayor Fred Mota on Thursday afternoon, two of them pose a serious threat to the city of Red Lake:
- 77 Red Lake, about 20 kilometers west of Burning Community. As of Friday morning, it was listed as having an area of ??more than 17,100 hectares and is not under control.
- Honghu 16 and Honghu 67 converge. The fire was located about 10 kilometers north of Red Lake 77, listed as more than 118,700 hectares, and was observed on Friday morning.
Mota said that Honghu 77 and Honghu 16 may merge.
“Our immediate forecast did not rain,” Motta said. “Our dry conditions are still extreme. In the near future, the possibility of evacuation still exists.”
The province’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) agency said that late Thursday afternoon, some other new fires near Red Lake were confirmed:
- Red Lake 113, burning near Shihu Lake, about 16 kilometers north of Red Lake. The fire is classified as 0.1 hectares and has not been controlled.
- Red Lake 116, near the shore of Lake Koli Lake, about 35 kilometers north of Red Lake. The 0.1 hectare fire was not under control.
- Red Lake 117, west of Li Lake, about 28 kilometers west of Red Lake. The 0.3 hectare fire was not under control.
AFFES said that as of late Thursday afternoon, 13 new fires had been confirmed in the area, these are part of them, and more reports are still under investigation.
The Honghu Municipal Government is posting the latest news on its Facebook page:
Sioux Lookout 57 is one of the newly confirmed fires, which caught fire about 7 kilometers south of Cat Lake First Nation. The 0.3 hectare fire has not yet been controlled.
AFFES said Kenora 99 is located south of Lake Maynard, about 18 kilometers northwest of Grassy Narrows First Nation, covering an area of ??3 hectares and is not controlled.
Emergency order takes effect
At the same time, the staff continued to work hard to extinguish other fires in the area.
The land area of ??Kenora 51 is approximately 84,500 hectares and is not controlled. The fire in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is burning. On Thursday, staff were setting up hoses in various parts of the fire and maintaining sprinklers on buildings near the fire site.
Honghu 65 covers an area of ??more than 12,300 hectares and is not under control. It is located about 10 kilometers west of the indigenous people of Baiyang Mountain who were recently evacuated by the fire. Workers are maintaining sprinklers on buildings near the fire and using aerial ignition to bring the fire to the natural boundary along Stout Lake.
The area of ??Red Lake 51 is approximately 45,770 hectares and is located about 26 kilometers west of the aboriginal people of Luhu Lake. Band member David Meekis said that the community is expected to formally request support for a full evacuation on Friday.
AFFES said that Red Lake 51 showed low fire behavior on Thursday, but this situation may increase as the forest dries out in the coming days. Workers are setting up sprinklers on buildings near the fire.
The no-fire zones in Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay areas, as well as parts of Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Nipigon areas are still in effect. Until further notice, outdoor burning is not allowed in these areas.
The province issued an emergency order for northwestern Ontario Due to fire activity earlier this week. The order allows the province to exercise “special powers or measures to mitigate the effects of emergencies” in certain areas, such as access or travel restrictions.
Ontario has not implemented any specific measures in the northwest.