Change in weather could stoke dozens of northeast Ont. fires

There is concern that a change in the weather today could stoke the dozens of wildfires raging across northeastern Ontario.  

The province's Ministry of Natural Resources says high humidity on Friday helped crews hold the line on 45 active fires in the region, 21 of which were still out of control by the late evening.  

But the ministry says the forecast return of dryer conditions today, combined with high temperatures and southwesterly winds, could fan the flames. The ministry adds that if that happens, it has the resources, including help from crews across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, to ``respond appropriately.''  

Two fires remain of primary concern _ the one known as Parry Sound 33, last measured at 111 square kilometres, and North Bay 72, a monster that has charred just over 272 square kilometres.  

Smoke continues to affect air quality and visibility in the region and Environment Canada has posted special air quality statements stretching from the Georgian Bay area through Espanola, North Bay and east to Mattawa along the Ottawa River. The smoke had earlier forced evacuations in parts of the Municipality of Killarney and prompted an evacuation alert in part of French River.  

Meanwhile, in northwestern Ontario, firefighters are battling another 101 fires.