Fire crews dealing with hot spots near Algonquin Park
Ground crews were dealing with hot spots Sunday in what officials are calling a contained fire area close to the northeastern border of Algonquin Park.
The fire is burning close to Barron Canyon Road in the remote ranges of a Canadian Forces Base Petawawa training area that covers about 340 square kilometres.
It was first spotted at about 2 p.m. ET Thursday, according to CFB Petawawa public affairs officer Sally-Ann Cyr, and was contained Saturday after bulldozers cut lines into the woods surrounding the fire to prevent it from spreading.
On Sunday afternoon, Cyr said a second, smaller fire was spotted in the same training area on Saturday. It covered about five hectares by Sunday and was "slowly growing," she said in a media release.
Cause of fire not yet confirmed
The original fire grew from 150 hectares to about 210 hectares on Friday afternoon, Ministry of Natural Resources spokesman Doug Skeggs said. But by Friday evening, falling temperatures and rising humidity slowed it down.
Cyr said officials were hoping they could classify the fire as "held" by Sunday evening if weather conditions stay stable.
Cyr would not confirm if there was a military exercise underway when the fire was first spotted. Exercises were taking place, but not in the area that the fire was detected, Cyr said.
The training area includes a firing range.
By Saturday morning, the fire in some places was about 100 metres away from the edge of Algonquin Park, Skeggs said.
The fire is now contained within one area, but not yet under control.
A helicopter was assigned to the fire Sunday and may do some bucket drops of water, Skeggs said.
Skeggs said the local forecast calls for the possibility of thundershowers with little rain, which could pose a problem for firefighting efforts and potentially start a new blaze.
Eastern portion of park successfully evacuated
By about 6:15 p.m. ET Friday an evacuation notice was issued, affecting the eastern portion of the park. About 400 campers and canoers in the area were given four hours to pack up and leave.
By Sunday morning, the evacuation was complete.
No injuries or property damage have yet been reported.
The base's fire station is equipped with three tankers and anywhere from seven to 13 firefighters, Cyr said, adding that all available fire crews were being deployed.
On Thursday, the park had issued an open fire ban for campers as a precaution, because dry conditions in the region had made the area susceptible to brush fires.