Residents of Alban, Ontario are preparing to evacuate at a moment's notice as the devastating Parry Sound 33 fire burns out of control across the province. Since the fire broke out on July 18th, it has managed to consume 8,974 hectares of land. One hectare is roughly the same size as a soccer field.
As of 6:40 PM yesterday, Alban residents living near the high powered hydro lines on Highway 64 are on high evacuation alert. The municipality says that once the evacuation order is issued, residents will have 24 hours' notice to pack up and leave.
Massive out-of-control Parry Sound 33 fire not the first at the Henvey Inlet wind power project construction site, @ScottLuft reports. Were these reported to MNRF? @ONresources @ONlabour @IESO_Tweets @cbcdaveseglins @PCPressOffice @CPOntario @ONenergy https://t.co/2OYD8oMXtq pic.twitter.com/iwhcLW7n3b— Wind Concerns (@WindConcernsONT) July 30, 2018
Local news outlets report that, if the evacuation order does come, residents will be notified through the town's website, through TV alerts, and door-to-door. Evacuation orders would restrict all travel in the affected areas, including travel by plane and by boat. Flying drones in restricted areas can also result in fines of up to $3,000.
The Parry Sound Highway 33 fire also threatens to shut down the Trans-Canada Highway, Canada's only transcontinental federal-provincial highway system. As of yesterday afternoon, the blaze was only about 7 kilometres away from the highway.
What is your definition of a big fire? 76.5 square km! Uncontrolled! Flying at 300 km/hr it takes 5 mins to fly from one end to the other. Water bombers look like little yellow specks against the smoke. Good luck @ONforestfires! #ParrySound33 pic.twitter.com/7Fja0J7TMY— Jonathan Britton (@JonTheMedic) July 29, 2018
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the fire is now about 5 kilometres away from Highway 69, and less than 1 kilometre away from the Pickerel River. Cottages in those areas will also remain on evacuation alert until at least the end of the week.
The Ministry reported last night that, in Ontario, there are "41 active forest fires across the northeast. Of these, 15 are not yet under control, 26 are either being held, under control or being observed."
Environment Canada has also issued an air quality advisory for the following areas, due to smoke from forest fires:
- Espanola, Killarney.
- North Bay, Powassan, Mattawa.
- West Nipissing, French River.
- Bayfield Inlet, Dunchurch.
Residents of the Alban, Ontario area are asked to call 705-898-2294 if they feel the need to evacuate before the official order is given. Leave a message if no one answers, or email email@example.com.