Ontario earmarks additional $100M to battle forest fires across province

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Parry Sound 33 is still burning out of control. photo courtesy MNRF

TORONTO — The Ontario government is adding $100 million to funds available to fight forest fires in the province.

The Progressive Conservative government made the announcement on Wednesday and says the money is on top of base funding of almost $70 million to battle the blazes.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources says there are 116 active fires, including 73 in the northwest region and 43 across the northeast. That compared to 120 active fires on Tuesday afternoon.

The ministry says the largest fire in the northeast, known as “North Bay 72” and burning about 30 kilometres west of Temiskaming Shores, has not grown in size and is no longer out of control.

Another large fire, dubbed “Parry Sound 33,” is about 113 square kilometres and remains out of control.

Almost 1,000 firefighters from Ontario are being assisted by about 480 firefighters and support staff, as well as aircraft and other equipment, from other provinces, Parks Canada, American states and Mexico.

“This money will pay for continued fire response efforts,” Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Jeff Yurek said in a release.

“It will also fund further assistance from our out-of-province and international partners so we can continue to fight the fires aggressively on the ground and in the air.”

The ministry said rain and persistent efforts from firefighters are helping in the fight.

An evacuation order for residents of several communities in the French River area remains in effect and as do numerous travel restrictions.

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