Despite changing weather conditions, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) says Thursday was a “great day” for firefighters tackling the giant Parry Sound 33 forest fire.
The fire, still classified as “not under control,” has been blazing for more than two weeks, and now covers 11,249 hectares of land in the province’s northeast region.
According to an update provided by the MNRF on Thursday, the fire is still approximately five kilometres west of Highway 69, and less than one kilometre south of the Pickerel River near the CN trestle bridge on the west side of Highway 69.
WATCH: Canadians dealing with raging wildfires and hot weather
The MNRF said Thursday was a “great day” for crews working to lay hose around the perimeter of the fire. According to officials, crews continued to make “excellent progress in critical areas,” especially along the northeast side of the fire near Pickerel River.
The ministry says despite higher winds coming from the southwest, water hose lines were able to hold and keep the fire’s spread in check. They now estimate most of the east flank has been tied with water hose lines.
In the west, near Fox Island, the fire remained quiet on Thursday and was relatively unchanged, officials say.
According to MNRF personnel monitoring the fire, Parry Sound 33 remains south of Key Harbour and north of the Henvey Inlet waterway.
On Thursday, the ministry says fire suppression including water bombers, hose laying as well as protection of more buildings and infrastructure, continued as crews worked hard to extinguish the fire.
However, with winds expected from the southeast again on Friday, unfavourable conditions continue to test firefighters attempting to control the enormous fire.
According to the update, as of Aug. 2, there were 47 active forest fires in the northeast region of Ontario. Of those 47, some 21 were considered “not yet under control,” while the other 26 were classed as either “being held,” “under control,” or “being observed.”
For the first time in several days, no new fires were discovered in the region.
According to the ministry, the number of forest fires recorded in Ontario so far in 2018 is now up to 942.
While OPP have not yet had to close Highway 69 as a result of the fire, MNRF and police continue to monitor road and visibility conditions closely.
OPP are asking travellers who encounter smoke to slow down and turn on both headlights and taillights.