Sudbury

Road and waterway travel restrictions lifted near Parry Sound 33 forest fire

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says although the Parry Sound 33 forest fire perimeter remains restricted, all waterway and road restrictions are now lifted.

Size of the fire still at 11,362 hectares

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      The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says although the Parry Sound 33 forest fire perimeter remains restricted, all waterway and road restrictions are now lifted.

      The fire, which started on July 18, is still sitting at 11,362 hectares in size. It had prompted several evacuation orders and alerts, as well as water and road restrictions.

      Despite the lift in the water and road restrictions, the fight isn't over quite yet when it comes to fighting the fire.

      On Wednesday, about 40 firefighters from Mexico arrived to help. They were previously stationed further north in the region at the Lady Evelyn fire.

      "Everybody's trained to what we call a Type 1 level, but every agency has their own specialties. The folks from Mexico, they're really good with hand tools and for grubbing and putting out a fire that way," Garry Harland, ministry incident commander said.

      "There's a bit of orientation to happen around our helicopters, around our pumps and hoses. But they're very organized, they work very safely."

      Harland says the crews from Mexico will help with the Parry Sound 33 fire until Sunday.

      The ministry's Heather Pridham and Garry Harland look at a map of Parry Sound 33 forest fire. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

      "We're fortunate to have them here for four or five days and getting them in the bush right now and really mopping this fire up much quicker than had we not had them," he said.

      The fire's perimeter has been contained for a week now, but firefighters continue to mop up remaining hot spots. That could continue to cause smoke around the Key and Pickerel river areas.

      Organizing crews

      Meanwhile, although crews remain on site, the forest fire incident command post in Britt, Ont., is much quieter than it was a few weeks ago.

      It's the place where forest fire crews gather each day to battle Parry Sound 33.

      "Behind the scenes it's a lot of computer work, it's a lot of planning, organizing, forecasting what we think we're going to need," Heather Pridham, the ministry's regional outreach specialist said.

      "Forecasting to escalate the situation when we need more resources and then as the fire becomes being held and under control and closer to out, we start to de-escalate or scale back on what we assign to the fire."

      Fire crews roll water hoses near the Parry Sound 33 forest fire. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

      That planning is especially important for firefighters, who can spend up to 14 days in the bush, explains Pridham.

      "You'll have your own tent, your own sleeping bag [and] as a crew you'll have a dining shelter and you'll have a cookery kit so you're cooking all your own meals out there," she said.

      "It's kind of like sitting down at the end of the day with your family for that meal around the table. You're with the same four people all summer long."

      Food is delivered in coolers by other ministry staff.

      With files from Benjamin Aubé

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