Firefighters continue to battle dozens of fires north of the border

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Wildfires burning hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Ontario, Canada are causing us to feel the effect of the flames thousands of miles away.

“The forest fire situation in the Northwest region remains quite escalated,” Chris Marchand, Regional Fire Information Officer said.

As of Thursday morning, Marchand said there were 161 active fires.

This is on top of 31 new fires Wednesday and a season high of 81 new fires Tuesday.

“Fire seasons vary in severity wildly from year to year. You’ll have extremely busy years, you’ll have years that aren’t so busy,” Marchand said. “Definitely a season to remember here in the northwest.”

Five remote Indigenous communities in the far north have been evacuated, while the town of Red Lake, Ontario, is on standby for evacuation.

Here at home, many of us are feeling the effect of haze and smoke in the air. Marchand explained why that is.

“In the Duluth area, you might be seeing some local effects from a cluster of eight fires in the Quetico Provincial Park area that’s just over the border from the Boundary Waters area,” Marchand said. “That could be putting up a little bit of local smoke in your area.”

According to Marchand, firefighters from five provinces are working to extinguish the flames, as well as, a group of nine firefighters from Wisconsin.

“It’s great to have the help,” Marchand said.

While there has been some reprieve from rain at night, Marchand said all are hoping for more.

“It’s really driven by the weather and it’s going to take a significant weather event and some widespread rainfall to really turn around these drought like conditions that we’re experiencing and that is driving the fire hazard in the region,” Marchand said.