Evacuations from Red Lake in northern Ontario continued Tuesday and overnight after a nearby fire that sparked Monday afternoon, dubbed Red Lake Fire 49, grew to more than 750 hectares.
According to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the fire is still classified as “out of control.”
“The fire is approximately three kilometres south of the Red Lake townsite and three kilometres west of Hwy. 105,” and moving eastward, they said.
“Air attack, Initial Attack FireRangers and heavy equipment worked throughout the day to slow the fire’s progress.”
Red Lake Mayor Fred Mota said Wednesday everyone needs to evacuate. He asked residents to proceed to the airport and said anyone who needs help evacuating can call 807-727-7106.
“We are experiencing heavy smoke conditions today and we understand this will continue throughout the day as the fire is in very close proximity to Red Lake.
“We have an airplane on standby today to remove residents immediately.”If people don’t head to the airport before the afternoon, they can’t guarantee transport, he added. Mota says over 20 ground crews, six water bombers and 12 helicopters were involved in fighting the fire, which as of Wednesday afternoon was still out of control.A spokesperson for the province of Manitoba said one air tanker group — which includes two water bombers and one Bird Dog aircraft — was deployed to the area, while additional water bombers stationed in Manitoba have been assisting as needed.“It was so fast and ferocious,” said Janalee Jodouin, a resident of Madsen who was escorted by police back to her home to quickly retrieve some medication for her dog.“It was shocking to see our whole … Highway 618 is destroyed. We just got new fibre optic lines to get internet for the first time in Madsen. Those are all on fire, hydro poles on fire. It was shocking and sad.”
Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Services told the Kenora Miner & News Wednesday said the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
The OPP said they are not investigating an arson in the area.