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Kawartha Lakes Burn Ban, air quality update, and how to stay informed about the Ontario forest fires

Burn Index: Burn Ban

Burn hazard index with white arrow pointing to Burn Ban (black)

Kawartha Lakes – With the ongoing forest fires in Quebec and Northern Ontario, Kawartha Lakes has moved our Burn Hazard Index to Total Burn Ban.

Kawartha Lakes is encouraging residents to stay informed on all of the latest air quality updates and Ontario forest fire information.  

Kawartha Lakes Total Burn Ban

With the Burn Hazard Index now set to Total Burn Ban, effective immediately, there will be no burning in Kawartha Lakes until the burn ban is rescinded.  

“Due to the special air quality alert, caused by forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario and extremely dry conditions, we have made the decision to put a total burn ban in place,” said Fire Chief Terry Jones.

The risk of the ongoing forest fires making their way to Kawartha Lakes is minimal but, as always when there are hot and dry conditions in the municipality, sometimes all it takes to start a large fire is a small spark. Residents are asked not to burn during the burn ban.

Kawartha Lakes Fire Department recommends that residents always have a 72-hour emergency kit prepared in the event of any sudden emergency situation that may arise now or in the future. For tips on what to include in your 72-hour emergency kit, visit our Emergency Management page.

For more information, read our Total Burn Ban news release.

Air Quality Health Index in Kawartha Lakes moves to High Risk

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit would like to advise residents of the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County that the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) has now moved to high risk due to smoke from ongoing forest fires.

“The current smoke plumes from forest fires throughout Ontario and Quebec are leading to worsening air quality, moving the air quality health index to high risk,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit. “For those who may be at risk due to other health reasons we are advising you to please prioritize your health by reducing your exposure.”

The HKPR recommends that the general population reduce or reschedule any strenuous outdoor activities, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation. For individuals with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant women, and those who work outdoors are at a higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke, the HKPR recommends the following:

  • Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
  • Improve your air quality by changing your furnace filters.
  • Find out if you are at risk

Visit the HKPR website to read their full news release.

Current status of forest fires in Ontario

MNRF Forest Fire regions map

Ontario's wildland fire season extends from April 1 to October 31.

As of early Wednesday evening, there are 34 active wildland fires across the Northeast Region of Ontario. Of these, 22 are not yet under control, six are being held, one is being observed, and five are under control.

If you’re north of the French and Mattawa Rivers and you see a column of smoke, call 310-3473 (FIRE). If you’re located south of the French and Mattawa Rivers and you see a column of smoke, please call 911. Otherwise, check the Ontario government’s interactive fire map or the Fire Smoke Forecast website to determine if what you’re seeing is drifting heavy smoke.

For all of the latest updates visit the Ontario government’s Forest Fires webpage.

Where to go for the latest information

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) website has resources for you to reference, including a forest fire map, FireSmart, emergency preparedness tips, fire restriction zones, and links to informative social media accounts. Learn more on their Forest, wildland and outdoor fire webpage.

Visit the Fire Smoke Forecast website if you’re interested in following along with the fire smoke forecast. Find weather alerts and/or any weather related emergency advisories on the Environment Canada Weather information website.

For any transportation related information, including highway closures as a result of wildland/forest fire activity, visit the Ontario 511 website.

For tips on how to stay safe and protect your property in the event of a forest fire warning in your area, read the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) Top 10 Wildfire Safety and Prevention Tips.

For forest fire related updates, emergency situation updates, and for local emergency response updates, residents are encouraged to follow the below social media accounts:

Stay informed locally

The most important step you can take to be prepared in the event of an emergency is to ensure you stay up-to-date on any local warnings and advisories issued by the municipality. The municipality has many different channels to help keep the community informed. Please take the time to sign up for any of the following:

  • Subscribe to the municipal newsroom to receive public notices and advisories straight to your email
  • Follow Kawartha Lakes on Facebook and Twitter to see the latest updates directly from the municipality
  • Download our municipal information tool, Pingstreet, on your mobile device to receive emergency push notifications
  • Tune in for the latest warnings and advisories on 91.9 Bounce FM radio and Global/CHEX television and other local news sources.

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