THUNDER BAY – The Residents of Sandy Lake First Nation who had been evacuated to Thunder Bay returned home throughout the day on Tuesday. The City of Thunder Bay now remains on standby. The potential of a hot dry August could cause further forest fire evacuations.
Last evening, the City of Thunder Bay received appreciation for its role in hosting nearly 300 residents of Sandy Lake First Nation and assisting the Department of National Defence as a transportation hub as it moved evacuees from their homes to host communities across Ontario.
“Not only did you step forward as a host community to support the vulnerable who needed to leave their homes in Sandy Lake, you also agreed on very short notice to act as a staging area for the DND-driven hub model,” said Allison Stuart, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief – Emergency Management Ontario, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, to Mayor Keith Hobbs. “The Thunder Bay team was pivotal in the successful evacuation and subsequent return of more than 3600 members of First Nations communities. Thank you for your commitment.”
After the last plane left Tuesday at 8:15 pm, Chief Adam Fiddler of Sandy Lake First Nation, expressed his appreciation to Thunder Bay. “Thank you again for all your hard work and dedication during this difficult time for the people of Sandy Lake and surrounding First Nations,” said Chief Fiddler. “Your caring open arms during our time of need means a lot and is something that our community will not forget.”
The local Emergency Operations Control Group responding to the evacuations includes the City of Thunder Bay, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, Police, Fire Rescue, District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Superior North EMS, Canadian Red Cross and 211.