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Thunder Bay Update on Forest Fire Evacuees

Thunder Bay Update on Forest Fire Evacuees

Red Lake fire 49

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~ August 12, 2020  (LSN) The City of Thunder Bay received 54 evacuees Tuesday from Red Lake, in response to a 420-hectare forest fire just outside that town, and is preparing today to receive up to 200 Stage One or vulnerable population evacuees from Eabametoong First Nation. Stage One evacuees include persons with disabilities, seniors, children and pregnant women.

“Thunder Bay is a willing partner in responding to the needs of our neighbours as they face this dire situation,” said Mayor Bill Mauro. “We have, though, advised the Province of our limitations due to the strain on our emergency medical services when it comes to hosting vulnerable populations who may require increased medical care, especially as we continue to respond to COVID-19. We are counting on other communities to also step forward to assist during this emergency.”

This is an evolving situation and the precise number of evacuees to arrive in the city is still developing at this time. Red Lake, with a population of 4,500 residents, is evacuating to several community in the region including Dryden, Kenora, Pickle Lake and others in addition to Thunder Bay. Eabametoong First Nation, with a resident population of 1,300, is looking to evacuate vulnerable populations as quickly as possible to Thunder Bay, which can respond to about half of the anticipated need of the vulnerable population.

“We have been in discussions with Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health, as it relates to the arrival and hosting of additional people within the city during a pandemic,” said Norm Gale, City Manager. “COVID-19 prevention measures are in place in Thunder Bay and evacuees will abide by the health and safety measures in our community to keep the evacuees safe, given that they have no active COVID-19 cases in their communities. This again puts extra pressure on our emergency services during these unprecedented times.”

The local coordinating team, including the City of Thunder Bay, Police, Fire & Rescue, Superior North EMS, Emergency Management Ontario, Canadian Red Cross and Thunder Bay District Health Unit, will continue to meet to make necessary arrangements. 

 

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Fires of Note: MNR

  • Red Lake 49
  • Located three kilometres south of the Red Lake townsite and three kilometres west of Hwy. 105, good progress has been reported in slowing the spread of the fire towards the community.
  • At the time of this update Red Lake 49 is approximately 750 hectares in size and not under control.
  • 15 four-person FireRanger crews have been assigned to the fire.
  • Heavy machinery is engaged in building fireguards.
  • 8 helicopters spent the day in support of ground crews, bucketing water onto the fire’s edges.
  • An air attack package, consisting of two CL-415 water bombers and a bird dog escort aircraft, is available as required.
  • Hwy. 105 remains open (southbound).
  • Hwy. 618 accessing Madsen remains closed.
  • For up to date road closure information check 511.on.ca.
  • An Incident Management Team has assumed command of the fire.
  • A municipal evacuation order is in place.

Residents can find evacuation-related updates on the Municipality of Red Lake’s Facebook page

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