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NORTHWESTERN FOREST FIRES AND EVACUATIONS

Helicopter flies through smokey conditions over Kenora 27. Photo courtesy OMNR by Mitch Miller.

July 19, 2011 3:29 PM

UPDATE #14 – IMMINENT FIRE THREAT FORCES THE COMPLETE EVACUATION OF KEEWAYWIN FIRST NATION

The Council of Keewaywin First Nation has decided that a complete evacuation of the community is now necessary due to the imminent threat posed by a nearby forest fire. This decision was made at the recommendation of provincial and federal officials.

197 of the most vulnerable citizens were evacuated to Greenstone yesterday*see below the 200 individuals still left in Keewaywin will be airlifted, as a priority, tonight, also to Greenstone.
Other evacuations, mostly due to health concerns caused by smoke, are still underway or were completed today. They include:
  • 328 residents have been evacuated out of Cat Lake First Nation and moved to Kapuskasing (140), Dryden (80) and Mattachewan First Nation (108)
  • 46 residents of Mishkeegogamang First Nation have been evacuated to Sioux Lookout for medical reasons
  • 200 residents of North Spirit Lake are being evacuated to Greenstone. The operation should be completed on July 18
  • 281 of the most vulnerable residents from Eabematoong First Nations were taken to Greenstone on July 17
The evacuation of 750 vulnerable from Sandy Lake First Nation is also underway. Some residents have been evacuated to Thunder Bay and Dryden. The operation will be completed tomorrow.
 
MNR and EMO continue to monitor the worsening fire situations in the Northwest and are putting contingency plans in place to ensure the safe evacuation of more communities that could become directly threatened by fire.
July 18, 2011 8:48 PM

UPDATE #12 AND #13 ON THE NORTHWEST ONTARIO FIRES AND EVACUATIONS

Smoke caused by numerous forest fires continues to cause concerns in many First Nations communities in the Northwest. First Nations officials in Cat Lake and Keewaywin have decided to evacuate their most vulnerable residents.

248 of the most vulnerable residents of Cat Lake have been evacuated to Kapuskasing (140) and Mattachewan First Nation (108) because of ongoing issues caused by the smoke and in the aftermath of an earlier power outage caused by the fires.
 
Smoke which intermittently drifts into the community, has led the leadership of Keewaywin First Nation to evacuate approximately 172 of their most vulnerable residents to Greenstone, more than 600 kilometres to the southeast. This operation should be completed by the evening of July 17.
 
First Nations leaders in Sandy Lake, Eabametoong and and North Spirit Lake have also requested the evacuation of some of their most vulnerable residents. Federal and provincial officials are collaborating with them to safely transport these residents out.
 
The evacuation of 281 vulnerable residents of Eabametoong First Nations is underway. They are being flown to Greenstone on Canadian Forces aircraft. The airlift will be completed overnight.
 
Fire conditions are likely to deteriorate further and EMO, MNR and First Nations are monitoring the fire and smoke situation to be able to respond to any further need.
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