Firefighters making 'excellent progress' against Ontario forest fire

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources says firefighters "continue to make excellent progress" in tackling a massive forest fire known as Parry Sound 33 in the province's northeast.

The fire began on July 18 and has burned through more than 100 square kilometres of forest. It was remapped at 11,185 hectares on Thursday and remains stalled about five kilometres from the Trans-Canada Highway.

The ministry says crews are holding back the fire in critical areas of Parry Sound 33, especially along the northeast edge. Higher winds tested that perimeter on Thursday, but the hose lines held and the fire was kept in check.

The ministry says no new fires were discovered on Thursday and one was extinguished, but there were still 47 active forest fires spread across the northeast and 21 remained out of control.

Smoke continues to affect air quality and visibility in the region and Environment Canada has posted special air quality statements stretching from the Georgia 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.

In addition to 47 active fires in northeastern Ontario, firefighters are battling another 101 fires in the northwest, and receiving assistance from crews across Canada, the United States and Mexico.