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50 homes evacuated

UPDATE 12:26 p.m.

More than 50 homes were evacuated in northeastern Ontario on Friday night due to raging forest fires.

The mandatory evacuation order was issued for the Key Harbour area and the municipality of Killarney south of the French River Provincial Park, after the fire more than quadrupled in size Friday to about 19 square kilometres, according to the Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"Everyone who was evacuated was evacuated by boat," said ministry spokeswoman Isabelle Chenard.

The new fires were ignited by lightning strikes Friday, Chenard said, adding that it pushed the total number of blazes to at least 65 — 34 of which remain out of control.

"Our community is devastated at the impact of (the fire) Parry Sound 33," said Jennifer Kivinen, co-president of the Key River Area Association, which represents a group of seasonal and permanent residents in northeastern Georgian Bay.

Kivinen said she is at her cottage on the north of the French River and can see the smoke and damage caused by the forest fires on the other side of the park.

"The impact is huge environmentally," she said.

"It is extremely sad if we lose our cottage," she added. "But I just want everyone to be safe."


It's going to be a very busy weekend for crews battling dozens of wildfires in northeastern Ontario.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says eight new fires were ignited by lightning strikes Friday, pushing the total number of blazes to at least 65 — 34 of which remain out of control.

The fire known as Parry Sound 33 more than quadrupled in size Friday to about 19 square kilometres, prompting the ministry to recommend the mandatory evacuations of the Key Harbour area and the municipality of Killarney south of the French River Provincial Park.

The Ministry also said in a release issued late Friday night that dense smoke from the fires had forced the closure of a section of the Trans Canada highway.

Dozens of aircraft — both planes and helicopters — are being employed to battle the fires, and Ontario crews are also getting help on the ground from firefighters who've come from across Canada as well as the United States and Mexico to lend a hand.

With more hot, dry, windy weather forecast this weekend, they're likely to need all the help they can get.



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