Regional fire crews traveling to B.C. and Northwest Territories

Northwestern Ontario crews are on the ground in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories trying to curtail the flames.

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre called on our province to help the efforts to stop wildfires that have led to evacuation orders for 68 per cent of the population of the Northwest Territories

“We currently have 83 staff deployed,” indicated Amy Peltonen, a fire information officer with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. “[That] includes sixteen overhead staff, and [a pair of] 20-person type one fire ranger crews to the Northwest Territories. [We have also sent] 27 overhead staff to British Columbia.”

Peltonen added that hoses, hose bags, pump kits, radio batteries and shovels have also been shipped to the Northwest Territories.

She noted that some workers did depart this past weekend, and a typical deployment will last for about 14 days.

“[At that point] they will assess and see if they need to come home for a rest or if they might be extended for maybe another five days. So, at this point, it's up in the air on when their return date will be,” Peltonen said.

Peltonen said the fire risk in Ontario has lessened.

“In the late spring and early summer, Ontario was experiencing an escalation in fire activity," she said.

"At that time, we were seeing warmer and drier conditions combined with heavy and widespread lightning that contributed to an increased fire load. But since then, fire activity has deescalated significantly following more seasonal precipitation values and temperatures throughout July and August. We've been doing a little bit better, and that's why we've been able to send these staff members.”

Peltonen noted that all requests for resource sharing are carefully assessed while balancing the resource needs in Ontario just to ensure that the province remains prepared for wild fire demands.

As of Wednesday, there are 33 active fires in the Northwest region, which includes nine that are deemed out of control.

Kevin Jeffrey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,