PIKANGIKUM FIRST NATION – A state of emergency has been declared in Pikangikum First Nation. Forest Fires are impacting the community. Fire Hazard in the Red Lake District has ramped up to Extreme, and a fire near the community is causing the evacuation.
Pikangikum is a fly-in First Nation community located approximately 100 km north of Red Lake and has a population of approximately 4000.
The Chief expressed concerns that only one CF Hercules was available. Greg Rickford the MPP and Minister for Indigenous Services says, “We’re working with Pikangikum First Nation and ONresources to evacuate high risk community members this morning. The Canadian Forces have been activated and are deploying a Hercules aircraft. We will continue to monitor & activate the necessary resources to ensure a safe evacuation.”
The City of Thunder Bay is preparing to receive approximately 300 people from Pikangikum First Nation over the course of the next 48 hours as the community reported that they require immediate evacuation of their vulnerable population due to heavy smoke impacting the community and affecting public health and wellness.
The city will also serve as a transportation hub to assist with travel to other host communities across Ontario.
A pair of fires in close proximity to the community and smoke blowing east from the Manitoba border are the causes of concern, especially for vulnerable population in the community.
“Thunder Bay’s Emergency Operations Control Group is very experienced in dealing with these types of emergencies,” said Mayor Bill Mauro.
“We are prepared to provide any support we can to our northern neighbours in their time of need, and will be working hard to provide for the comfort of evacuees coming to Thunder Bay,”
The local coordinating team including the City of Thunder Bay, Police, Fire & Rescue, Superior North EMS, Emergency Management Ontario and Canadian Red Cross, will continue to meet to make necessary arrangements.