10/12/2011 11:18 EDT | Updated 12/12/2011 05:12 EST

Ontario imports water bombers from Quebec to aid in fighting forest fires

TORONTO - The warmer-than-usual temperatures over the long Thanksgiving weekend, combined with dry conditions, led to a surge in new forest fires in Ontario.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says there were 33 new fires confirmed between last Friday and holiday Monday, with several requiring air attack with water bombers and helicopters.

The ministry says the majority of the new fires were caused by humans and are in the northeast region.

There are 50 active fires in the province — 24 are being observed, 11 are under control, seven are being held and eight are not under control.

The largest new fire is Sault Ste. Marie 20, which has grown to more than 114 hectares and is not under control.

Other significant fires include Wawa 37 and Kirkland Lake 19, both of which are 25 hectares in size and not under control.

So far this year, 1,317 fires have affected 631,961 hectares of Ontario forest, about 200 fires more than the yearly average, and about 550,000 more hectares burned than average.

Ontario has imported two CL-415 water bombers from Quebec to assist with fire suppression, saying the escalating fire situation this late in the season is challenging provincial resources.