The provincial government has issued an emergency declaration in northwestern Ontario, as crews battle an increasing number of wildfires.
The order will allow provincial officials to close roads and restrict access to areas, if necessary.
There are currently 70 fires burning in the region, with dry conditions, frequent lightning, and high temperatures contributing to the threat.
Hundreds of people have already been evacuated from two communities threatened by fires.
Evacuees forced to leave due to forest fires will start arriving in Timmins today.
In order to access additional resources and provincial aid, the City of Timmins has also declaring a state of emergency.
The City of Timmins will shelter 150 evacuees from Pikangikum First Nation after forest fires have forced the community to evacuate.
The 150 are stage one primary evacuees that make up the community’s vulnerable population including individuals with small children and the elderly.
The Municipal Emergency Control Group has made arrangements to host the evacuation site at the Ramada Inn, where people will be bussed from the airport and registered.
“Our local team has acted fast to help,” said Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Laughren. “A State of Emergency will help us provide a coordinated and immediate emergency response to support evacuees. We know that we can host all 150 individuals safely and will continue to closely monitor the situation along with our local health unit and community partners.”
According to Suzanne Lajoie, Manager of Environmental Health for the Porcupine Health Unit, the health unit is working with community partners to ensure that all COVID-19 precautions will be in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposures.
While evacuations typically run two to three weeks, due to the number of fires in northwestern Ontario, the proximity to the communities and limited rain in the forecast, the timeline is difficult to predict. Timmins may see additional evacuees as the situation develops.
Other evacuees will also be settling in Sudbury.
The Canadian Red Cross is in the process of setting up assistance for the evacuees and donations are warmly accepted.
PHOTO: MNRF water-bombers, ground crews and firefighters from across Ontario are converging in the northwest of Ontario due to the high volume of wildfires in the area. Photo provided by MNRF