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Members evacuate as fire threatens Poplar Hill First Nation

Thunder Bay prepares to receive up to 300 evacuees as fire threatens community north of Red Lake.
Forest Fire
Members of Poplar Hill First Nation are evacuating as a fire threatens their community. (File photo)

THUNDER BAY – Up to 300 members of Poplar Hill First Nation will evacuate to Thunder Bay Sunday as a forest fire threatens the northern community.

The fire, known as Red Lake 65, is burning just 10 kilometres west of the community and “poses an immediate threat to public safety,” according to a release from the City of Thunder Bay.

The fire was considered not under control at 4,012 hectares, according to Ontario’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services. It was at two hectares when it was first recorded on July 5.

The city is activating funding from upper levels of government to receive the evacuees, who the city described as more vulnerable community members, following a decision of the Municipal Emergency Control Group Sunday morning.

Hundreds more members the community are expected to be hosted in other Northern Ontario communities.

“This is an evolving situation that does require the evacuation of the entire community due to the forest fire threat,” the city stated.

Mayor Bill Mauro said the decision to accept evacuees came after consultation with medical officer of health Dr. Janet DeMille.

“Dr. DeMille has advised there are no active COVID-19 cases in Poplar Hill and vaccinations have been rolled out within the community,” he said.

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