More than three weeks since it was first discovered, the enormous forest fire known as Parry Sound 33 is now ‘being held.’
The fire, now covering 11,326 hectares in the Ontario’s northeastern region, was first discovered near Henvey Inlet on July 18.
According to an update provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) just after noon on Thursday, the fire’s status has now been changed to ‘being held’ from ‘not under control.’
The ministry says that ‘being held’ means the fire is expected to stay within the control boundaries that fire crews have established.
“This is great news, and I know Ontarians share my gratitude and respect for the fire crews and support staff who are battling this fire and other fires across the province,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, in a statement.
“But their work isn’t done. There are still more than 120 active forest fires in Ontario, and this week the government committed an additional $100 million so we can continue to fight these fires aggressively,” he said.
According to the Yurek, the money will be used to pay for continued fire response efforts, including supplies and equipment used to suppress the fire, and the work of fire rangers and support personnel.
As of Thursday morning, the MNRF reported 247 firefighters and support staff were were working to control the Parry Sound 33 forest fire.
On Wednesday, Henvey Inlet First Nation Chief Wayne McQuabbie, along with council, rescinded the evacuation order, allowing more than 190 residents to return to their homes.
However, with 17 forest fires still ‘not under control’ in the northeastern region, many others remain under evacuation orders and alerts.
According to the MNRF, the ministry is working with other communities to determine when residents who have been evacuated can safely return to the area.
For now, the ministry is reminding residents and visitors that travel restrictions are still in place in much of the region.