ONTARIO—Northern Ontario has been facing a series of forest fires, ranging in severity from being held to not under control.
By the evening of July 29, there were 39 active forest fires across the northeast region of Ontario, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources of Ontario. Fourteen of those are not under control.
The Parry Sound 33 blaze is one of the most raging of the northeastern forest fires. Compromising air quality due to smoke along Highway 69, the fire is about six kilometres west of the highway. Fire response crews continued with structural protection and aerial suppression using water techniques on July 29.
In the northwest, there were 94 active fires with 27 not under control by mid-afternoon July 29.
A common cause of these forest fires is lightning, with human activity as a cause for some as well.
Wildland fires are a natural part of forest ecosystems. Some natural fires are not controlled and a small number of fires are prescribed by authorities to help maintain healthy ecosystems, according to Natural Resources Canada. This makes fire control strategies a complex process.
The ministry reports that Ontario is receiving support from across North America. Over six hundred firefighters and support staff, along with equipment, came from across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the passing of a firefighter from Alberta in a statement posted on Twitter.
Yesterday, an Alberta wildland firefighter, Mr. Jerry Gadwa, a resident of Kehewin, unexpectedly passed away while supporting fire suppression efforts in Red Lake, Ontario.
“We are one country, and we look out for one another,” Rotley said in the statement, “Mr. Gadwa’s brave and selfless actions will be remembered.”
Jerry Gadwa, a 20-year veteran in firefighting, died while helping suppressing forest fires in Red Lake, Ontario.
Many Canadians offered their condolences on Twitter, including Premier Doug Ford who extended sympathies on behalf of Ontario.
While observing the fire suppression effort in Northern Ontario today, we honoured and remembered Jerry Gadwa from Alberta, who unexpectedly passed away while fighting forest fires in Red Lake, ON. The people of Ontario extend our deepest sympathies to his family.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 27, 2018
The ministry released an interactive map with information about the locations and statuses of forest fires around the province.
According the the ministry, there have been 831 forest fires in 2018 so far, more than three times the amount in 2017 of 243.