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Rain helped firefighters regain control over wildfire in northwestern Ontario: officials

Red Lake fire grows to 750 hectares as residents urged to leave
WATCH: Red Lake fire grows to 750 hectares as residents urged to leave

Persistent heavy rain has helped firefighters regain control over a wildfire that forced the evacuation of a northwestern Ontario town.

The Ministry of Natural Resources says nearly 50 millimetres of rain fell on the fire, which is three kilometres from Red Lake and designated as Red Lake 49, since Friday morning.

Fire information officer Chris Marchand says the status of the blaze has gone from “not under control” to “held.”

Read more: Northern Ontario First Nation begins to evacuate some residents due to forest fires

Marchand called it a significant milestone in the firefighting phase, and said crews are now focusing on putting out remaining hot-spots.

About 4,000 residents had evacuated Red Lake as of Friday afternoon, but Marchand says it’s still too early to know when evacuation orders will be reversed.

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Eight helicopters, two water bombers and 20 four-person crews are currently fighting the fire.