Poplar Hill, Deer Lake forest fire evacuees from northwestern Ontario set to start heading home this week

pikangikum first nation

Evacuees from two northwestern Ontario First Nations who have been staying in Thunder Bay for nearly a month are expected to start returning home in the coming days.

About 385 Poplar Hill residents and more than 400 Deer Lake residents have been staying in Thunder Bay.

Eric Nordlund, Thunder Bay’s deputy fire chief, said Monday that Poplar Hill community members could start returning home as early as Tuesday, while flights to Deer Lake could start on Thursday.

“That’s the current plans,” Nordlund said, adding the exact timeline depends on “logistics of finding and scheduling aircraft and the flights.”

The scheduling will be handled by the province, Nordlund said.

CBC has requested further information from the Ontario government but has yet to receive a response.

Nordlund said the 2021 fire season has been a busy one.

“We saw, certainly, more folks come out all at once,” he said. “It stretched our capacity a bit.”

“But in doing so, it also forced our hand to say, ‘OK, how can we be better at this, and how can we … more properly respond to the requests of our fellow community members in northwest Ontario, to help them out in a time of need, and work with the province and the federal government to meet those needs?'”

“And that means building capacity within our own organization.”

Restricted fire zone in effect

As of Monday morning, more than 115 forest fires were burning in northwestern Ontario.

A restricted fire zone remains in effect in the Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Thunder Bay districts, and portions of the Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Nipigon districts. Outdoor burning is prohibited in those areas.

The province has also issued an emergency order for northwestern Ontario that allows it to take special measures “to ensure the safety of people and the protection of critical property.”

The restrictions apply to certain industrial operations that have the potential to cause sparks and start fires. A complete list of affected operations is available on Ontario’s forest fire information page.

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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