More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from five areas in northern Ontario because of ongoing wildfires that are spreading across the region, provincial authorities have confirmed.
The settlements of Poplar Hill and Deer Lake have been fully evacuated, and vulnerable residents have been relocated from Picanguicum, North Spirit Lake and Cat Lake.
“All evacuation requests have been granted by the province,” Ontario Attorney General Sylvia Jones and Minister Greg Rickford said in a joint statement.
“More than 600 firefighters continue their efforts to contain and suppress fires in the northwest, using all available ground and aerial equipment to protect people and property.”
A number of indigenous territories and municipalities have declared emergencies in response to the rapidly evolving situation. According to government officials, five Indigenous peoples and one municipality have declared emergencies because of the threat of fire and smoke, and two Indigenous nations and five municipalities have declared emergencies to accommodate evacuees.
There are currently 151 wildfires burning in Ontario, 138 of which are in the northwest region and 13 in the northeast region.
According to officials, some fires worthy of attention include a fire called SLK 060, which is about eight kilometers west of Cat Lake First Nation and is currently uncontrolled, and a fire called RED 065, which is about 6.13 kilometers west of Poplar Hill First Nation and is also uncontrolled.
To fight the wildfires, the Ontario government is providing ground and air support such as firefighters, suppression equipment, helicopters and CL415 water bombers.
Currently, 16 communities are receiving evacuees from northern Ontario First Nations. They include: Cochrane, Sudbury, Kenora, Kapuskasing, NAV Centre (Cornwall), Thunder Bay, Timmins, Sioux Lookout, Peel, Salt Ste. Marie, Hurst, Pickle Lake, Lac Seul First Nation, Dryden, King Township and Six Nations.