Evacuees from Keewaywin First Nation returning home
Tim Brody - Editor
Evacuees from Keewaywin First Nation who had been staying in Sioux Lookout began to return to their community over the weekend.
Flights carrying evacuees home were scheduled for last Saturday and Sunday from the Sioux Lookout Municipal Airport.
More than 200 residents of Keewaywin First Nation arrived in Sioux Lookout on July 2 and 3 due to a wild fire threatening their community.
A report from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) department at 5 p.m. on July 21 stated:
Red Lake Fire Number 23 is located approximately eight kilometres south of the community of Keewaywin. At a size of 96,535 hectares, this fire’s status changed to ‘under control’ today.
Red Lake Fire Number 39 is located southwest of Pikangikum First Nation. At 44,541 hectares, this fire’s status changed to ‘being held’ today. Approximately 30 crews are at work on the fire. Early morning infra-red scanning is ongoing in priority areas to identify hot spots.
As of the time that report was issued, there were 16 active fires in the region. The Ministry reported that three fires were being held, three fires were under control and 10 fires were being observed.
The Ministry also reported, “The fire hazard in the Northwest Region is mainly moderate to low with areas of high hazard in the Thunder Bay and Nipigon districts. Warm dry weather in the coming days is expected to show an increase in the forest fire hazard.”
In order to prevent forest fires, the Ministry is asking people to adopt safe burning practices, “Choose the site of your campfire carefully and keep your fire small. Stay nearby: never leave it unattended. Put your fire out by drowning it with water. Be sure that it is extinguished prior to leaving the site. Stir the ashes with a stick to uncover hot coals and then drown it again. You can never be too safe.
“Consider alternatives to burning brush or yard waste, such as chipping or composting when possible, or saving burn piles for the fall or after the fire season. Use of outdoor fires must follow the outdoor burning rules set out in the Forest Fire Prevention Act of Ontario. Fires are to be started no sooner than two hours before sunset and extinguished no later than two hours after sunrise. Fires should never be left unattended and tools and water should be close at hand to put the fire out. More details on outdoor burning regulations can be found online at Ontario.ca/forestfire.”
Fire permits for burning brush and yard waste can be purchased at the Sioux Lookout Municipal Office as well as at the Sioux Lookout Fire Hall and at the Hudson Fire Hall.