Roughly half of Pikangikum residents now evacuated as forest fire burns
Canadian Armed Forces members help load evacuees on to a plane as smoke from a forest fire fills the sky near Pikangikum First Nation, Ont. in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Canadian Armed Forces
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 12, 2019 3:46PM EDT
Officials say the full evacuation of a northern Ontario First Nation threatened by a forest fire has reached roughly the halfway mark.
The commander of Pikangikum's emergency operations centre said on Friday that around 2,000 of the First Nation's approximately 4,000 residents have been moved to Regina and other host communities in Ontario.
Mathew Hoppe says more flights out of the community are planned but evacuations by land and water routes remain on hold after being paused Wednesday when host communities in Ontario reached capacity.
The Saskatchewan government has said it will take in up to 2,000 displaced residents.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says the forest fire is about 507 square kilometres in size and is burning six kilometres southwest of Pikangikum.
A full evacuation of the community was ordered on Monday.