The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
Flames were expected to cross two highways overnight
The Gogama-area forest fire was expected to cross two highways 144 and 101 overnight and continue heading in an easterly direction.
“The fire has increased in size over the past few days,” said Joel Legasy, fire management supervisor for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Timmins unit. “The precipitation we saw through Monday night and into Tuesday morning slowed the fire temporarily, but by yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon the fuel dried out and the fire became more intense.”
The significant growth seen on Thursday prompted the Ontario Provincial Police to close escorted access to the Old Mill Campground via highway 101, around 1 p.m.
“We can no longer escort anyone through to Foyelet,” said OPP Const. Marc Depatie. “The high winds, heavy smoke and heat are such that I cannot safely condone the travel for residents or for my fellow officers.”
The heavy smoke forced the OPP to move the roadblock and field command unit several kilometres forward from the 144/101 intersection to the intersection of Malette Road and Highway 101.
“We have moved the command unit forward and we will be turning travellers back towards the city from that junction,” said Depatie. “The heavy smoke is a major concern and we are treating it as such, it is very important that residents do not, under any circumstances place themselves in harms way.”
The winds were such that Legasy and his fellow fire management team leaders had trouble predicting the movement of the fire, but they did their best to estimate future growth.
“It has put on some growth today, but we cannot estimate it because it has been very smokey,” Legasy said.
He anticipated the fire would cross Highway 101 by late afternoon”We are estimated that at roughly 1600 hours it will cross highway 101.
“We are expecting it to increase on the eastern side and there is the possibility that it will cross highway 144 later tonight,” Legasy said.
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