More than 1,000 forest fires in Ontario this year; 116 still active
Published Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:32PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 12, 2018 4:05PM EDT
New forest fires continue to be discovered in Ontario, even as some of the biggest and most threatening fires in the province slowly edge toward being extinguished.
The province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said Saturday night that four new fires had been found that day in the province’s northwest. All of the fires were one hectare in size or smaller. Two of the four were considered to be out of control.
Saturday’s new fires bring the total Ontario has seen this year to 1,028 – an 87 per cent increase over the usual number of fires in the province by mid-August, and more than double the tally recorded at this time last year.
Parry Sound 33 has been considered one of Ontario’s highest-priority forest fires this summer due to its proximity to a key rail line and highway, as well as a number of populated communities.
Officials said Sunday that the fire remained 11,362 hectares in size and was being held, as it had been since Thursday. Infrared scanners were being used to help firefighters locate hotspots, which they could then move to and extinguish.
A number of communities near the fire had been evacuated or warned that they might have to evacuate as the fire progressed. Some of those people have been allowed to return home since the fire stopped its spread. The Pickerel and Key rivers remain off-limits in all areas west of Highway 69 during daytime hours.
Another major fire concern in recent weeks, the Lady Evelyn fire cluster northeast of Sudbury, is also being held.
There were 41 active forest fires in northeastern Ontario as of Sunday morning, five of which were considered to be out of control, while 75 fires – including three which were out of control – were burning in the province’s northwest.
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