Pikangikum Fire Update – 19:00 EDT May 31/19

Red Lake Fire #14

Hercules Aircraft
Hercules Aircraft

PIKANGIKUM – Evacuation efforts continued today out of the Northwestern First Nation community of Pikangikum.

The fire is about two kilometres from the community.

Telephone lines have been damaged by fire, but Internet and cellular service is still on in Pikangikum.

AFFES reports (as of 18:50 EDT): Red Lake Fire 14 is located near the eastern boundary of Pikangikum First Nation.

A total of 14 FireRanger crews and four CL-415 Airtanker aircraft continued to make progress today on the north and west flanks of the fire nearest the community.

The evacuation is going fairly well. There is an issue in Pikangikum at the airport. When the Hercules land the airport crews have to do some maintanance between each flight.

The fire is now approximately 2,993 hectares in size. Values protection (sprinkler units) is ongoing at key infrastructure sites south of the fire. Winds from the north are helping to clear smoke from the community.

Sources tell NetNewsLedger that the flights out of the community to Sioux Lookout have ended for the day. This was planned.

Sioux Lookout, which declared a state of emergency to deal with the situation, had received five flights today.

Brian P. McKinnon, the Manager of Corporate Services/Municipal Clerk
and Public Information Officer for the Sioux Lookout Emergency Control Group tells NetNewsLedger that efforts today went very smoothly.

There will be 30-40 people staying tonight in Sioux Lookout.

Sioux Lookout is serving as a hub-community and a decision will be made soon about continuing that role, or shifting to a host community.

Kenora MP Bob Nault says, “I have personally reached out to Chief Amanda Sainnawap to offer any required assistance. We will continue to work to evacuate residents to ensure their safety.”

Updates to come throughout the weekend.

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