Firefighting crews managed to keep an out-of-control forest fire from growing bigger in Northern Ontario.
According to an update by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Red Lake Fire 49 remains at 552 hectares in size.
“Twenty crews are still assigned to suppression on the fire,” reads the update.
“Crews continue to consolidate lines on all sides of the fire.”
The blaze began Monday afternoon and only a few hours later, residents in the Rural Municipality of Red Lake were urged to evacuate as the fire was burning only three kilometres from the town of Red Lake.
By Thursday, that fire had crept closer, only two 2 km away.
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.
Red Lake Mayor Fred Mota said more than 20 ground crews, six water bombers and 12 helicopters were involved in fighting the fire, which was 3 km away on Wednesday.
Most people in the community have fled to Dryden, though some have chosen to stay behind, Mota said.
Weather in the region Friday is favourable, said the ministry, with showers predicted and lower wind speeds.
However, possible thunderstorms could spark new fires, as the area’s forest fire hazard rating is currently at “extreme.”