Monday, May 21, 2012

Cause: HUMAN

With the celebrations this long weekend following an extended dry period and soaring temperatures , people have been out fishing and camping and exploding fireworks en masse.

Where go the humans...there goes fire.

To date for 2012 , there have been 252 forest fires in Ontario. Most of those in the North East Region. Twenty seven active fires ( not under control ) and another dozen inactive ( under control but not necessarily out) are keeping  Ontario water bombers busy . One water bomber from Newfoundland and two from Quebec are assisting the fight.

To date , 4 472 hectares have burned . If you squeezed that all together , that is approximately 17 square miles of bush ( forest) right now. 4055 of those hectares began to burn this weekend . Only a few of those fires were caused by lightning . The majority are caused by those campers , fishermen and firework celebrations. A few are caused by chain saws and other equipment used in the forestry industry.

The interactive map put out by the Ministry of Natural Resources is an up-to-date source of info for Ontario. Only one of 10 provinces and three territories...all suffering the fire scourge. It is going to be a hot, dry, terrifying summer at this rate.

 Today Facebook is awash with local photos of what people are facing in Kirkland Lake and Timmins right now. This is only a small part of what forest fire can do. Much of what is destroyed is never seen by those who start them. It is only when it is on the doorstep that the reality hits home. But what of the non-human losses? Life and home...

Photos in/near Timmins ,Ontario by Julie Huppe-Thibault

The fire near Kirkland Lake, Ontario .

photo by Colleen Walker

Photo by Clayton McLaughlin

Photo by Mark Welch

Photo by Mary-Ann Thompson
Read the comments below for updates.


  1. Today , Kirkland Lake is evacuating areas where homes are under threat of burning. Oh , for a good soaking rain.

    1. One day later and the number of fires has reached 40. No rain in the forecast until tomorrow...thunderstorms...this can work for or against. Let's hope there is more rain than Lightening. The rain will only serve to slow fires down by wetting trees ahead of it. Winds of the storm and the fire wind created by the fire will push forward without a long soaking rain system that soaks into the ground.

    2. Another day and the number of fires has reached 58. British Columbia fire bombers and crews have joined the fight.

      Kirkland Lake folks are still evacuated. No rain in sight for at least a day or two. Luckily there are thousands of lakes to fill water bombers.

    3. The Timmins fire is the worst fire.

      Fire races from tree top to tree top. It can't be fought from the ground.

      With the high winds , aircraft cannot easily find their marks with water. Water is blown off mark or evaporates before it touches the trees.

      The intense heat above the fire with little oxygen makes for difficult flying conditions. Planes must keep out of that zone.

      These are very brave people out there in the air and on the ground struggling against what is right now an overwhelming force.