Kirkland Lake prepares for evacuation

There is growing concern about a forest fire burning near Kirkland Lake that forced about 300 people out of a popular cottaging area near the city on Sunday.

Police, fire officials continue to monitor the dozens of fires plaguing northeastern Ontario

A water-bomber flies over a forest fire located near Kirkland Lake, Ont. (Ministry of Natural Resources)

There is growing concern about a forest fire burning near Kirkland Lake that  forced about 300 people out of a popular cottaging area near the city on Sunday.

Police and fire crews are keeping a close eye on the fire situation there and elsewhere around northeastern Ontario, as about 40 fires continue to burn across the region.

Tuesday morning school buses were cancelled in Kirkland Lake. The schools were closed for the day because of the fire.

Currently, no orders have been issued for people to leave the Kirkland Lake area, however provincial police and emergency officials in Kirkland Lake said they are continuing to assess if the community needs to be evacuated.

Watching and waiting

Nancy Allick, the town's chief administrative officer, said an emergency plan is in place should people have to leave the community.

If the order is issued, the community will be given 10 to 12 hours notice to leave.

"We have put in place busses and that kind of thing to transport people," Allick said. "We've told them to pack clothing, medication, important documents like passports ... any treasured items that they might want to bring ... get them ready, just in case."

The preparations mean health and long-term care facilities will be ready if patients need to be moved — and officials are at the ready to go door-to-door to notify people.

Emergency Management Ontario officials have also been involved. Plans have been drawn up for emergency shelters in nearby communities.

Allick said if people do have to leave Kirkland Lake, they will likely head south because there is also concern about fires to the north in the Timmins area.

Other trouble spots

A large fire was also burning west of Timmins and was being watched closely by the MNR.

As of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Highway 144 was closed between the junction of Highway 101 to the intersection of Highway 560. Highway 101, west of Timmins, was closed to westbound traffic at the intersection of Highways 144 and 110. Highway 661 was also closed at Highway 144.

That fire also affected school buses that serve the schools in the northeast Tri-board.

Karen Passmore, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Timmins, said they’re, "really concerned …about the changing wind direction and whether or not it will push the fire towards town."

Fire crews were also fighting a blaze near Gogama — one that closed Highway 144 at the Watershed.

Passmore said a couple of camps were destroyed by that fire, but no one was injured.

"We have confirmed that there are approximately two structures that are right within the fire centre that have been lost," Passmore said.

People have been asked to leave the Cache Campground, McKeown road, Doyle Road and the west side of Kenogamissi Lake.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the fire is more than 21-thousand hectares in size and is still not under control.

Provincial police said they have also issued a one-hour evacuation notice to mine supervisors, including Lake Shore Gold and Imerys Talc mines.