On Sunday May 8th, Whitewater Region Fire Department Station 3 (Foresters Falls) responded to a reported Forest Fire in the area of Pettigrew Road and Voyageur Bay Trail. When fire crews arrived, they observed heavy smoke southwest of Pettigrew Road. The size of the fire and its remote nature, required response from the remaining Whitewater Fire Stations. Crews attacked the fire from two coordinated sites using 2,000 feet of hose. Firefighters worked tirelessly through 30-degree temperatures to bring the 10-acre fire, over 160 meters of elevation, under control by nightfall. This fire is the largest fire the Whitewater Region Fire Department has ever encountered.
Whitewater Fire crews were supported by a number of local personnel and outside agencies. Renfrew County Paramedic Service was on standby in case of any injuries or rehabilitation needs, and the MNRF responded and provided expert advice on firefighting tactics. Local support included drone footage, local knowledge on terrain and access points and ATV transportation for firefighters and equipment. A big thank you to Joe Kowalski, Casey Jones, Jason Finan and everyone else who assisted us.
Fire crews returned to continue firefighting activities Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which included extinguishing the remaining fire inside the burnt area and removal of burning trees. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, pairs of firefighters inspected the area for flair ups and deep seated below ground fires.
This fire clearly demonstrates the hard work and commitment of our firefighters. The fire’s extreme elevation, high temperatures and remoteness was daunting. Despite these challenges, our firefighters pushed on to contain the fire before it threatened any residences or destroyed more forested area.