Evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation paused as forest fire gets smaller

The fire near the eastern edge of Pikangikum First Nation grew on Thursday to more than 3,000 hectares, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources. Twitter/OPP IndigenousBureau

PIKANGIKUM, Ont. – Officials say evacuations have been put on hold in Pikangikum First Nation as the forest fire near the northern Ontario community has reduced in size.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says that as of Sunday, the fire burning near Pikangikum was about 447 square kilometres.

Jonathan Scott says the fire was reduced by about 60 square kilometres because of rain over the previous few days, which also helped improve the air quality in the area.

READ MORE: Roughly half of Pikangikum residents now evacuated as forest fire burns

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Mathew Hoppe, commander of Pikangikum’s emergency operations centre, says the full evacuation of the First Nation was paused in light of the good news.

He says the community will take it day by day in deciding what to do with the residents who remain in Pikangikum.

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The Canadian Armed Forces says 2,079 residents have been taken out of the First Nation since a full evacuation was ordered on July 8.

READ MORE: First Pikangikum evacuees reach Regina, more to arrive on weekend

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Of those, 424 have landed in Regina; Saskatchewan offered last week to take 2,000 people from the community after host cities in Ontario ran out of space.

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