The battle continues for crews attempting to extinguish the devastating Parry Sound 33 forest fire in northern Ontario.
The fire, first detected on July 18, is now more than 8,900 hectares in size and is still considered to be “not under control.”
According to an update provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) on July 29, the fire has spread to approximately six kilometres west of Highway 69 and less than one kilometre south of the Pickerel River.
According to the ministry, winds from the west and southwest are expected Monday and could possibly push more smoke onto Highway 69 and into the surrounding communities.
However, according to MNRF spokesperson Shayne McCool, the ministry has not yet received word from the Ontario Provincial Police of a highway closure.
On Sunday, the ministry said structural protection was completed in Henvey Inlet, with protection efforts for the Key River and Grundy Lake areas expected to begin July 30.
According to the ministry, aerial suppression continued on Sunday with water bombers and water bucketing efforts targeting the east flank.
The ministry says crews also worked on the southeast portion to hold the perimeter and complete the hose line.
McCool says the cause of the Parry Sound 33 forest fire remains under investigation.
For a short time the cause of Parry Sound 33 was listed on the MNRF forest fires website as “human,” however, it has since been removed and the cause remains undetermined.
McCool says he was unable to comment as to why the cause was removed.
“The investigation is still ongoing, and as they do with every fire, they will be investigating the cause to determine how it was started,” he said.
Currently, Parry Sound 33 is one of 39 active forest fires in the northeast section of the province. According to the ministry, 14 of those fires are classified as “not yet under control.” The other 25 are either being held, under control or are being observed.
Now, nearly two weeks since the fire was first observed, Ontario has received support from across Canada, the United States and Mexico in order to help control the flames.
According to the ministry, a total of 610 firefighters and support staff along with equipment are currently battling the fires in Ontario.
Several of the other fires across northern Ontario are believed to have started as a result of extremely dry conditions and lightning strikes.
According to the ministry, so far in 2018, there have been 831 forest fires in Ontario. This is a significant increase from the 243 fires recorded in 2017.