The United Townships of Head, Clara and Maria

As reported by the Ministry of Natural Resoures and Forestry, four fires broke out in Maria Township on Wednesday July 18th as a result of lightning strikes. We will continue to provide updates on this page as they become available.

Updated: 3 months ago - Created: July 24th, 2018

August 20, 2018 - Attached please find the Revocation Order IO-2018-05-PEM05-R (revoked 1 p.m. EST on August 20, 2018).  This lifts all travel/Crown land access restrictions under Emergency Area Order 2018-05.

Heather Riddell, A/ District Manager, Pembroke District, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 31 Riverside Drive, Pembroke, ON K8A 8R6

August 17, 2018 - 2:42 p.m.:

Good afternoon. Great news for campers, cottage owners and those just looking to enjoy a weekend outside. The municipal fire ban has been LIFTED for Head, Clara & Maria.  MNRF warnings and indices have been lowered for our area - dropping to moderate as opposed to high - extreme so we are quite confident in removing fire restrictions.

Please continue to use caution while having campfires. As usual, burn permits are required for any fire larger than one cubic meter. We will re-assess the situation next week, if this is all the rain we get.  Have a great weekend and thank you for your cooperation.

August 14, 2018 - 11:57 a.m.:  

Good morning. We have spoken with staff from Haliburton MNRF. They have advised that even though the rain (and hard work of their crews) have the fires in Maria Township under control, their fire indices show that our area is still at a high to extreme risk for fire.

Weather conditions indicate "a good burn day for today" and the forecasts indicate the potential for lightning with the coming showers on Thursday and Friday.  The indices that the MNRF use to gauge burn conditions are still high to extreme, including the layers under ground which are where lightning fires normally originate.

They have few crews available to address new starts, which are expected with the coming weather, which include lightning.  For these reasons, the FIRE BAN in HEAD, CLARA & MARIA is STILL IN EFFECT until further notice.

We thank you for your patience, understanding and cooperation in keeping our community safe.

We will advise when the ban is lifted.

August 13, 2018 - 10:35 a.m.:The implementation order issued by the MNRF on August 7th, 2018 has been revoked and replaced with the following:
All use of Crown lands located within the fire perimeters in the Geographic Township of Maria (Pembroke District), as outlined on the attached Implementation Order map within the EAO, is restricted.
Note: Travel and use of Bissett Creek Road is now permitted, however, fire crews are still working in the area so travelers are asked to take extra caution when driving near or through the burn area.
This order is in effect as of 9 p.m. EST on August 12, 2018 and will remain in place until such time as the order is revoked.

August 10, 2018 - 11:46 a.m.: Bissett Creek waste disposal site is returning to normal hours of operation, and will be open tomorrow from 12:45 - 3:45 pm. Stonecliffe was disposal site is open from 8:30 am- 12:00 pm.

August 8, 2018- 9:31 a.m.: The implementation order that was issued on July 22nd, 2018 has been revoked by the MNRF. A new implementation order was issued August 7th which restricts all travel and use of Crown lands located within the fire burn areas in Maria Township. Travel and use of Bissett Creek Road between Menet Lake Road and the Algonquin Park boundary and Crown land on or within 500 metres of the road is not permitted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Pembroke District of the MNRF. Beyond these hours, use of the modified travel area is permitted. This order is in effect until further notice.

August 2, 2018 - 2:50 p.m.:MNRF crews continue to make good progress on all fires. Pembroke 5 and 7 are under control while Pembroke 6 and Algonquin Park 11 are being held! Travel restrictions are still in place, with an unknown date of revocation. The MNRF will only revoke the travel restrictions when it is safe to do so, and will notify us when that occurs. All crown access road in Maria Township are restricted, as well as Menet Lake Road, Deux Rivieres Creek Road and Deermeadow Lake Road. Updates will be provided as they become available.

July 31, 2018 - 2:20 p.m.:There have been questions regarding the smell and visibility of smoke in the townships and we want to confirm that there are no new fires. Pem 005 and 007 are being held, and are not expected to grow given current conditions and resources allocated to them. Pem 006 is still classified as not under control, however, MNRF has reported no size increase and crews are making good progress with this fire. Because the wind is blowing SW, the excess smoke we are seeing and smelling could be from the Parry Sound fires. The MNRF was unable to indicate when travel restrictions will be lifted, but will notify us when it is safe to do so.

July 30, 2018 - 9:51 a.m.: On July 29, 2018 the MNRF reported on their website:
Pembroke 5 is 37.5 hectares and Pembroke 7 is 72.5 hectares. Both fires are being held. Crews are working the interior of the fires looking for hot spots and expanding the control line around the fire.
Pembroke 6 is not yet under control. No growth was observed today on this fire. Crews continue to make progress on the perimeter of the fire while they identify and suppress hot spots.

July 27, 2018 - 10:17 a.m.:  From the MNRF Website at close of day Thursday... Pembroke 5, 6, and 7 - "Fire activity on the Pembroke fires was minimal again today. Pembroke 5, south of Grant’s Creek, is 37.5 hectares in size and has shown no growth. Pembroke 6 has twenty-four firefighters assigned and covers 697 hectares. Pembroke 7 which runs parallel to Highway 17 is now being held at 72.5 hectares.  Values protection continues."

The County wide Restricted Fire Zone continues. The Municipal Fire Ban continues. Travel continues to be restricted in Maria township including Menet Lake Road and Deux Rivieres Creek Road and DeerMeadow Lake Road.  Please plan your weekend activities accordingly.

July 26, 2018 - 7:01 p.m.:  Good evening. Contrary to reports by members of the public, the fires in Head, Clara & Maria are still active with two still being listed as NOT under control. We have had reports of people saying that the fires are out. This is far from the truth. Even with rain, the fires are still fully engaged and the fire risk remains high. The MNRF Restricted Fire Zone over the entire Municipality and the Travel Ban within Maria Township continue until further notice.

As of 6:56 p.m. this evening. MNRF has reported that Pem 007 - the fire closest to the highway and Grants' Creek in Bissett Creek is now 72.5 hectares and is now listed as "Being Held".  Pem 005 is 37.5 hectares and is still NOT under control.  Pem 006 the fire closest to Algonquin Park is 697 hectares and is still NOT under control.  Please respect the MNRF experts and their reports and the Municipal Fire Ban.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires

July 26, 2018 - 10:28 a.m.:  Residents in Mackey have been concerned about the smell of smoke in the air this morning.  Prevailing winds are carrying smoke from area fires further than usual.  There have been no new fires reported in the municipality.  Should you observe an as yet unidentified fire, please call the MNRF immediately at 310 FIRE or 310 3473 and later notify the municipal office staff at 613-586-2526 so we can keep everyone updated.

July 26, 2018 - 10:25 a.m.:  Morning Updates from the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre...  "There are currently 132 active wildland fires in the province in various stages of control. There has been no change in evacuation recommendations over the last 24 hours, however, the PEOC is closely monitoring large fires with the potential to affect additional communities (municipalities and First Nations)."

From the MNRF...  "Continued fire suppression and value protection efforts. ... 4 MNRF Emergency Area Orders continue in the following areas: Kenora, Parry Sound, Pembroke - PEM 007 (2018-22), North Bay... For more information on travel restrictions and fire conditions visit: www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires" link.

Future Outlook: " MNRF advises that the fire hazard for the province is moderate to extreme. There is no significant fire growth expected over the next 24 to 48 hours, however, the fire risk across Ontario is expected to continue for the next several weeks. Precipitation over the last 24 hours has allowed ground crews to make progress on existing fires, and rainfall over the next couple of days will continue to be scattered within the NE Region. Drier conditions are expected this weekend and fire indices are expected to increase at that time. Priority setting continues as some fires are brought under control and others continue to grow."

Please Note******The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Restricted Fire Zone continues in Head, Clara & Maria. The Municipal Fire ban is still in effect. Travel restrictions for Maria Township are still in effect.

July 25, 2018 - 5:34 p.m.:  From the MNRF Website - Restricted fire zones - Effective July 23, 2018  Restricted fire zone expanded to additional parts of the Northeast fire region (southern region)  Due to the extreme fire hazard, several recent periods of heavy lightning, little precipitation and increased forest fire, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has expanded the Restricted Fire Zone to include parts of the Southern Region of Ontario as outlined on the interactive map.  This expansion of the current Restricted Fire Zone will be in effect as of 12:01 AM on July 24th, and remain in place until further notice.  

  • The expanded Restricted Fire Zone now includes Zones 24, 25, & 26 which would include areas south of the French River, including Parry Sound, from Georgian Bay east to the Quebec border, including Algonquin Provincial Park and from Renfrew north to Mattawa.
  • To date, the current MNRF Restricted Fire Zone covers Zones 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, & 26 and restrictions will remain in place until further notice.  See the fire map for an outline of the zones covered.
  • During a Restricted Fire Zone, the use of open fires – such as campfires, or burning of brush or debris, is restricted. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to $25,000 and three months in jail, as well as financial responsibility for the costs incurred in fighting a forest fire.
  • Portable gas or propane stoves are permitted for use for cooking or warmth, though they should be closely monitored. Portable charcoal BBQs and Hibachis are not permitted unless within 100 metres of a dwelling, or within an organized campground.
  • Commercial campground operators may allow their guests to enjoy campfires during a Restricted Fire Zone period provided they meet certain conditions in the Outdoor Fires Regulation (207/96) .

The Restricted Fire Zone is a temporary measure to reduce the number of new human-caused wildfires as the Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services branch of the OMNRF expects the elevated forest fire hazard to continue into the foreseeable future.

July 25, 2018 - 5:31 p.m.:  The following from the MNRF website... Pembroke 5, 6, and 7 - No aerial fire suppression was required on these fires today.  Pembroke 5, south of Grant’s Creek, is 37.5 hectares in size. Pembroke 6 and is burning at 697 hectares. Pembroke 7 runs parallel to Highway 17 and was remapped to 45 hectares. The status of these fires is still not under control.  Values protection continues.

July 25, 2018 - 5:23 p.m.:  We have received an update from the MNRF and would like to reiterate that the fire ban in Head, Clara & Maria is still in effect until further notice.  The fires are still active and considered NOT under control despite the rain we have received. Fires are active living entities and can change quickly. Despite the rain, as soon as the sun and wind returns, fires often rise up again.  Rain recorded in one part of the community is only representative of that one location - some other areas have received very little rain over the past couple of days, especially those areas furthest from the Ottawa River. The Emergency Implementation Order is still in effect and will be for some time, restricting travel to all areas of Maria Township and some roads in Head and Clara townships south of Highway 17.  We will post changes as they become available. Please check back here for information received and confirmed through appropriate channels.

July 25, 2018 - 4:03 p.m.:  The following is a message the Pembroke MNRF is sharing with its Land Use Permit holders...“As of the morning of July 25th, there has been no loss of structures in the areas of forest fires Pembroke 5, 6 or 7. We are continuing to provide values protection (in the form of sprinkler systems) as a precaution to structures near the affected areas. We will continue to assess the need for new values protection measures as the fire situation develops.”  We have contacted the Ministry and have not received an update specific to our area. Rainfall, especially with thunderstorms, does not necessarily reduce the fire risk immediately. Rainfall received in one location does not guarantee that it has been equally distributed over the area.  Please be advised that until further notice, the Municipal Fire Ban is still in effect.

July 24, 2018 - 2:29 p.m.: The MNRF has informed us that their crews have had a chance to re-size the active fires in our area. Pem006, burning closest to Algonquin Park's border, is covering 697 hectares. Pem007, burning closest to Highway 17, is 45 hectares. Pem005, south of Grant's Creek is still showing as 37.5 hectares but may be updated in the future. This does not mean that the fires have reduced in size; the previously reported sizes were based on estimates gathered from the air, which can be difficult to obtain. All three fires are currently NOT under control. MNRF has notified us that the fires in our area are being managed by an Incident Management Team and to date there are no lost values. Their value protection efforts have been successful and they will continue to protect property that is in close proximity to fires.

July 24, 2018 - 12:02 p.m.: We would just like to clarify some misinformation which was being shared on Facebook over the weekend. Apparently there was rumour of evacuations in Mackey and Stonecliffe. Please be advised that the forest fires are not anywhere near Mackey. They are quite some distance from Stonecliffe and are even a significant distance from residences in Bissett Creek. Deux Rivieres is not in any danger as well. Concern is with camps in the geographic township of Maria and all access to interior forest access roads is being blocked.If there were ever a need for evacuation - it would certainly occur in cooperation with the municipality. Up dated information would be shared via municipal and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry sources and not second hand. Also, we do realize that a number of our residents do not have access to or use social media. Rest assured that if there were evacuation orders, all residents would be made aware and would not need to rely on Facebook messages to get official notice. To repeat - there is no danger to residents of Head, Clara & Maria in any of the hamlets of Mackey, Stonecliffe, Bissett Creek or Deux Rivieres at this time. Should that change, residents will be notified.

July 24, 2018 - 10:16 a.m.:"All travel and use of Crown lands located in the Geographic Township of Maria (Pembroke District) is restricted. All travel and use of Menet Lake Road, Deux Rivieres Creek Road and Deermeadow Lake Road. All use and occupation of Crown land on or within 500 metres of the described closed roads is also prohibited. If a member of the public believes that access within the restricted travel area is necessary for non-recreational purposes, please call 613-732-3661 to request a travel authorization permit. MNRF will review the request for access based on the rationale provided, local fire activity, and the potential fire risk.See the restricted travel and access areas on this PDF map (Note: this map gets updated regularly)."

The above notice may be located on the MNRF website. Follow this link for up to date information concerning fires in Ontario and to find contacts to report new fires.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires#Pem

July 24, 2018 - 9:46 a.m.: Due to travel restrictions in Maria Township, the Bissett Creek disposal site will remain closed until further notice. The Kenny Road Landfill in Mackey will be open Tuesdays from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m., Thursdays from 12:45 - 4:15 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and 12:45 - 3:45 p.m. Please contact the municipal office if you have any questions or concerns at 613-586-2526.

July 23, 2018 - 8:54 p.m.: We are experiencing light rain in some parts of the municipality. MNRF staff are physically blocking access to the forest acess roads in Maria township, south of the highway, as well as access roads to Maria from the east and west forest access roads. If you have travel plans for camps, including Algonquin Park in this area, you may be denied access to crown land.Please be prepared to change your plans as this is a fluid situation.We will post new information as it becomes available.

July 23, 2018- 8:48 p.m.: The pics below are from the MNRF website and show the area the active fires are in...Pem 007 - the fire closest to the highway is now 90 hectares...Pem 005 closest to Grant's Creek and Owl Lake is 37.5 h....and Pem 006 closest to Christopher Robin and Big Bissett Lake shows 400 h although we have been told by the MNRF it is larger at near 800 h. It does take time for data to be uploaded. Especially with so many active fires in Ontario right now.

July 23, 2018 - 8:38 p.m.: Anyone can follow this link to the MNRF interactive map. http://www.gisapplication.lrc.gov.on.ca/ForestF…/Index.html…

July 23,  2018 - 10:20 a.m.:We have received some questions regarding the Implementation Order issued by the MNRF. The restrictions are for all crown land access roads in Maria Township as well as Deux Rivieres Creek Road, Menet Lake Road and Deermeadow Lake Road. Please see the map provided. This Implementation Order does not impact Highway 17. The OPP may close the highway at their discretion to ensure health and safety. The 511 website shows an updated list of highway closures and is available at https://511on.ca.
Ontario.ca/forestfire is another good resource for fire information including travel and use restrictions.

July 22, 2018 - 2:37 p.m.: Forest Fire Update in Head, Clara and Maria Townships:

The two fires closest to Algonquin Park’s border in Maria Township have merged (Pembroke 6 & 8) and are now burning at an estimated 800 hectares. Fire crews are on scene assessing the situation and how to best proceed with the resources available.
The fire running parallel to Highway 17 (Pembroke 7) is covering approximately 40 hectares while the third fire (Pembroke 5), south of Grant’s Creek, is 24 hectares. Officials from MNRF have confirmed the numbers for these two fires do not include growth, and that none of the fires are currently under control. Fire size, locations and status can be viewed online at https://Ontario.ca/forestfire.
The Ontario Provincial Police have closed and re-opened Highway 17 several times over the weekend and may continue to do at their discretion to ensure health and safety. The 511 website shows an updated list of highway closures and is available at https://511on.ca.
MNRF have stated that they are protecting values and camps that may be in close proximity to the fires by way of sprinkler systems.
There has been some false information circulating on social media in regards to evacuation orders, and at this time The Townships of Head, Clara and Maria, working closely with the MNRF, are not concerned with evacuations. If evacuations are to occur, it will be posted on our municipal website, official Facebook page, and through community email. We have an emergency plan and volunteers who are responsible for certain sections of each hamlet; to ensure residents are evacuated safely if required. The MNRF will not issue evacuation orders to residents, but will provide the municipality with recommendations of evacuation if they deem it necessary.
The MNRF has issued an implementation order to restrict access of all travel and use of crown lands in Maria Township as well as Menet Lake Road, Deux Rivieres Creek Road and Deermeadow Lake Road. Unless authorized by a travel permit issued by the Pembroke District of the MNRF, this Order restricts travel, access and use of the above listed areas, and may be modified regularly to reflect changing fire conditions. This measure is put in place to protect the public and ensure public safety while allowing fire personnel to safely fight forest fires in the identified area.

Thank you for your cooperation at this time, and updates will be provided as they become available.

July 21, 2018 - 3:59 p.m.: We are still working closely with the MNRF to monitor active fires in our area, and are not concerned with evacuation at this time. We will continue to provide updates as they are available.

July 20, 2018 -2:33 p.m.: Please be advised that there are currently four active fires in Maria Township that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry are working on. If you are on the water, please stay clear of water bombers so they can do their jobs properly. Smoke from the fires is causing reduced visibility along some parts of Highway 17, so please be cautious when driving. We are working closely with the MNRF to ensure resident health and safety, and are not concerned with evacuation at this time. Thank you for your cooperation.