SEPTEMBER 30, 2005
Canoe route re-opened
The nastawgan canoe route between Solace and Hamlow lakes, west of Florence Lake, was re-opened by two intrepid groups of canoeists.
Although it was never known as a recreational canoe route, it had been used by aboriginal and non-aboriginal trappers. Decades of disuse meant the portages were growing over.
In September 2003, Alex Broadbent and Chris Melanson went through first and Keewaydin Camp this past summer, locating and cleaning the portages.
Ottertooth has mapped the route in detail.
ROUTE MAP: Solace-Hamlow Crossover
Fire threat eases after extreme season
Rain and cold temperatures have scaled back a forest-fire risk that has lingered well beyond seasonal norms as the area was gripped by drought and hit with 165 fires.
September 8 to 20 could have been any period during the peak fire season in July and August. Temperatures soared into the 30s and lightning set off a jump in fires that required the re-opening of the Link Lake attack base, just north of the town of Temagami.
This base, where ground crews are temporarily stationed closer to fires, is rarely open in September. It remained open for the next 12 days to support attacks on 36 fires. On the busiest day, seven crews were there from as far away as Pembroke.
All the fires were small, only one reaching two hectares (southeast of Rabbit Lake). MNR staff for the North Bay district expected that ground attack crews would finish the season on September 11, but had to extend their contracts to October 9.
On September 18, the Temagami drought index hit 454, the highest of the season — by this date it is normally falling. The area had been gripped by drought almost continuously since August 3.
September 19 brought relief in 12 millimetres of rain. Temperatures fell and on September 26, the area dropped out of drought when the index fell to 289, below the drought threshold of 340. Last night another 15 millimetres fell and this morning the temperature was 3 C at nine o'clock.
Ministry staff are hoping we have turned the corner and are seeing the final decline in the fire season. "We won't get much more," said Bob Butler of North Bay fire operations. "Maybe the odd nuisance fire."
Temagami Drought Index 2005
* September 1-28 Data source: Ministry of Natural Resources
SEPTEMBER 21, 2005
Fall ceremonies held on Obabika
The weekend's traditional fall gathering on Obabika Lake attracted 60 people. Hosted by elder Alex Mathias of the Temagami First Nation, the annual event is held near Spirit Rock and the old-growth forest. Bill Buchan (left) and Bruce Roblin look over a birch-bark canoe built over the summer.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2005
Fire threat lingers
Over the Labour Day weekend, MNR fire crews responded to three small fires on Lake Temagami and one east of Red Squirrel Lake.
Two of the Lake Temagami fires were spotted by cottagers, including one on High Rock Island. All of the Lake Temagami fires were improperly extinguished campfires. The Red Squirrel fire was a holdover from lightning strikes the previous week.
This season has seen 130 fires in the North Bay fire district, which includes Temagami — 34 were human caused: recreation 13, residents 11, fireworks 2, industrial 3, railway 3, powerline 2.
Despite the drought, this was not a record year, or close to one. That was set in 1975 with 333 fires. It was the start of a tough three-year period with 185 fires in 1976 and 177 in 1977 — the latter year included the Obabika-Temagami fire and the Cobalt town fire. MNR keeps stats back to 1922.
The ministry will keep two fire-fighting crews active to the end of September, a level of preparedness higher than normal for this time of year.
"We've had no prolonged soaking rain," said Tim Dempsey of MNR in North Bay, "so we're not out of the woods yet."
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