A forest fire is threatening homes and cottages near the northeastern Ontario town of Kirkland Lake.

Approximately 300 residents have been told to vacate their properties immediately for their own safety. Many are sheltering at the Legion in Kirkland Lake.

The OPP said a forest fire was discovered near the town at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to police, firefighters from the Kirkland Lake Fire Department along with Ministry of Natural Resources fire crews and water bombers have been on scene fighting the fire since it was discovered.

By 8:30 p.m. Sunday the 1,500-hectare fire was headed northeast, away from Kirkland Lake and toward residential and cottage areas on Goodfish and Nettie lakes.

People are being advised to stay away from the area to prevent any interference with fire crews and emergency service providers.

Officers from the Kirkland Lake OPP detachment are on duty along roads in the area to direct traffic and provide assistance to those in need.

Kirkland Lake is 600 kilometres north of Toronto.