Evacuees return, but wildfires still burning up north
The ground still smokes on of the part Red Lake district fire in Northern Ontario on Thursday ,July 21, 2011. (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources-Mitch Miller)
TORONTO - Provincial officials say there are still more than 100 forest fires burning in northwestern Ontario, despite some recent rainfall.
Authorities say all of the more than 3,500 evacuees have returned to their homes, many in remote communities, but smoke can still be seen above many areas in the region.
The Ministry of Natural Resources says new fires are occurring daily, with three new ones reported Thursday.
More than 2,000 people and 100 aircraft are fighting the fires, including about 500 firefighters brought in from other parts of Canada and at least 40 from the United States.
The Natural Resources Ministry says there are currently 112 active fires burning over 582,912 hectares -- about 5,800 square kilometres.
The ministry says about 26,000 lightning strikes occurred across northwestern Ontario over the past two days, which will likely lead to more fires being discovered.
The long range weather forecast calls for warmer than normal days for the next six weeks, with a period of drier than normal conditions in the coming two weeks.
With files from CKDR