Forest Fire Update – Cat Lake Residents Set to Return Home

Cat Lake First Nation
Cat Lake First Nation - Courtesy of Cat Lake First Nation
THUNDER BAY – The weather conditions across the region are assisting firefighters battling the over 100 wild-fires burning across the region. As of Saturday, there is a low risk to First Nations communities from fire. At present evacuation efforts have stopped.

Evacuation operations in the past few days have brought 3,591 people to safety. All required evacuations are now complete. No further evacuations are planned at this time. We are constantly re-assessing the need for future evacuations with First Nations Leadership. All necessary resources are available and on standby should evacuations need to be resumed.

Cat Lake First Nation, which has been evacuated except for 51 residents who stayed behind to fight the fire is now reporting people will be able to return. Delia Oomash states, “Good news, everyone can start heading home tomorrow and Monday…however fire 84 is active”.

Both Toronto and Thunder Bay have been serving as transportation hubs with First Nations residents being flown to Thunder Bay and then Toronto, and finally onwards to their host communities. Yesterday morning, the final three flights arrived in Toronto from Thunder Bay. These residents were transported by bus to their host community of Smiths Falls. Fire fighting efforts continue across northwestern Ontario, with a focus on protecting human health and safety.

Power has been restored to the communities of Cat Lake, Slate Falls and Pickle Lake. Two outfitter camps located on Carillon Lake and one on Kapikik Lake in Sioux Lookout District were confirmed lost to fire. The camps were all unoccupied at the time.

As resident return to communities there is likely going to be the need for support. In Cat Lake, Slate Falls and Pickle Lake and other communities where the power has been off, food supplies have been spoiled. Often during the winter, families in these communities are able to get out and stock up via the winter roads. The cost of bringing in groceries to replace those lost by the power outages will be high.

Item Daily update
Number of fires active 111
New fires 13
Hectares to date 493,000
Fire personnel engaged Over 2,000
Out-of-province personnel 621
Equipment 17 heavy bombers, 4 light bombers (twin otters), 90+ helicopters and other support aircraft
Number of confirmed evacuees to date 3,591
Communities fully evacuated Cat Lake First Nation (363),
Keewaywin First Nation (182),
Koocheching First Nation (20)
Communities partially evacuated Deer Lake First Nation (545),
Eabametoong First Nation (281),
Kingfisher Lake First Nation (287),
Mishkeegogamang First Nation (46),
North Spirit Lake First Nation (200),
Sandy Lake First Nation (1,666),
Wawakapewin (9)
Host communities currently housing evacuees (evacuees received) Arthur (204),
Dryden (242),
Greenstone (1,038),
Ignace (55),
Kapuskasing (140),
Marathon (201),
Matachewan First Nation (108),
Moosonee (121),
Ottawa (272),
Sioux Lookout (296),
Smiths Falls (529),
Thunder Bay (275),
Wawa (110)
Airports Acting As Evacuation Hubs Thunder Bay,
Toronto Pearson