There were no new fires reported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on Sunday, but crews continue to battle 39 active forest fires across northeastern Ontario.
Twelve of those fires are not yet under control, including Parry Sound 33, which has caused the evacuation of Key Harbour and Henvey Inlet First Nation.
Ontario’s forest fire information map showed Sunday morning the fire had grown to about 8,224 hectares in size.
Winds blowing from the southwest kept crews busy along the portion closest to Highway 69. The ministry said the fire was still about seven kilometres from the highway early Sunday morning.
“Priority remains along the northeast side of the fire with fingers extending towards the CN rail line, as minimal movement occurred across the tracks. Minimal growth along the southwest portion of the fire occurred,” the MNRF said.
“Hose lay and containment will resume along the northern portion as crews will look to secure that area. The southwest winds are expected to continue tomorrow, possibly bringing heavy smoke conditions periodically into surrounding communities and along Highway 69.”
Evacuation orders for Henvey Inlet First Nation, home to about 200 people, will remain in place until at least next Friday.
Jim Rook, the municipality of Killarney’s emergency manager, said he’ll be visiting the ministry’s temporary firefighting headquarters in Britt, about 70 kilometres north of Parry Sound, on Monday.
Rook noted people in the area are anxious to get back to their homes and cottages, but that firefighters still have work to do. He added evacuation orders are likely to be similarly extended for the Key, Pickerel and French rivers west of Highway 69.
“It will be a fair time before we’re all happy with [the situation],” says Rook. “But they’ve put all kinds of resources at it, which is great.”
People on Hartley Bay Road, just north of the evacuated areas, remain on high alert.
“I think things are now moving in the right direction. I must admit though that Mother Nature has a way of humbling us,” stated Rook.