Ellie and her family (yours truly) arrived to Raven Lake landing at 2:30PM on May 12th, 2016. The forest fire on the north shore of Five Mile Bay had been burning for just over an hour (apparently the call to 911 occurred near 1:00PM when a cottager on the south side of the lake saw an unhealthy amount of smoke). The Dorset Fire Department and Fire Rescue Marine Unit was on the scene, and an OPP coordinating officer blocked the entrance to the landing. The officer said that a helicopter was arriving any minute to deliver firefighters, so we needed to stay out of the way.
We watched the helicopter circle around then land on the floating dock to deliver the MNRF Fire Rangers and gear. The boat load of fire fighters motored off to fight the fire behind the cottages. Then the “bird-dog” (an aerial scout) arrived and circled around several times to inspect the fire. It stayed in the area the whole time to direct the two water bombers who arrived minutes later.
After several bombing runs (about an hour) the fire was contained to about seven hectares. The fire came to within feet of burning the row of cottages.
“Just stay out of the way of the water bombers…” – Dorset Firefighter
When it looked like it was safe enough for us to head down the lake, I asked the fire commander at the landing if it was okay for us to go. He said, “Nice jammies… just stay out of the way of the water bombers if you hear them coming.”
“Yeah, no problem!” I said. And off we went.
Two hours later the water bombers were called back and did about 10 more runs. The ground crew worked all afternoon and into the night to put the fire out. They stayed on the scene with water pumps running for several days days to contain and monitor the area to ensure the fire stayed out.