Fire crews continue battling dozens of fires in northeastern Ontario


KILLARNEY, Ont. — Crews are continuing to battle dozens of forest fires in northeastern Ontario, after the biggest of the blazes more than doubled in size over the course of a day.

The province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said in a release that as of Saturday night 64 fires were burning in the region, with 29 of them out of control.

The Ministry said the largest fire in the province’s northeast — known as Parry Sound 33 — had more than doubled in size during the past 24 hours to over 48 square kilometres.

Five waterbombers were aiding hard-pressed ground crews in their struggle to contain the fire, which has prompted the evacuation of more than 50 homes that can only be accessed by boat.

Evacuation orders have been issued for the Key Harbour and Killarney areas, as well as an area from the western and northern borders of the French River Provincial Park, east to Highway 69 — a portion of the Trans-Canada Highway — and south to the Key River.

Firefighters and equipment have poured in from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to help the Ontario-based crews.

But there’s been little help from Mother Nature, with hot, dry conditions combined with lightning strikes and blustery winds fuelling — and often igniting — the flames.

“We’ve had a lot of smoke,” said Renee Germain who lives in Warren, Ont., located between Sudbury and North Bay. Though she’s not in the evacuation zone, she’s offering her property as a refuge for those with horses and livestock.

People in the French River and Britt, in the Parry Sound district, are looking to evacuate their animals due to the smoke, she said. She’s reached out to a few people.

“You never know, you may not have any smoke right now, but in an hour from now, you could get smoked out,” she said.

“We’re hoping that we can help other farms, or other homes, save a few animals,” she said. “If we can help other people who are impacted, I really hope that people out here follow suit.”

Germain said the warnings about fires are unsettling, and she’s concerned about animals getting left behind.

She hopes people get their animals out early before a possible evacuation order.

“Everything is very, very dry. We haven’t had much rain at all,” she said. “We have new fires that are starting every single day.”

— By Olivia Bowden in Toronto.

The Canadian Press


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here