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Update on Forest Fire Evacuation Efforts

July 22, 2011 – The City of Thunder Bay continues to assist northern First Nation communities during this severe fire emergency as crews battle as many as 112 wildfires across the North.

The city has been operating primarily as a transportation hub during this crisis, in addition to hosting nearly 300 displaced residents of Sandy Lake First Nation.

“The fire situation and the danger it poses is highly variable,” said Chief John Hay, Fire Rescue. “While the evacuation phase may be winding down, the challenge of getting everyone home once the danger subsides will be equally difficult.  It is not certain how long this state of emergency will last.”

Just over 2,300 men, women and children have been moved through Thunder Bay to other host communities across Ontario.  Staff from local agencies and the City of Thunder Bay have been working diligently to try and provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all of the evacuees.  Confederation College has also opened the doors to its Aviation Centre of Excellence to provide evacuees with a place to register when they arrive.

“This has been a very difficult time for the residents of these communities, and their patience and spirit has been inspiring,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs.

“The many volunteers from our community have been truly outstanding in their efforts to help our northern neighbours. This has been an unparalleled response to a true humanitarian crisis, and Thunder Bay has stepped up to the plate.”
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 and Canadian Red Cross.

For public inquiries related to the evacuation, call 211, the community information and referral line.

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Contact: Chief John Hay, Fire Rescue, 625-2101