Nfld. & Labrador

Labrador fire forces evacuation of 2 communities

A raging fire burning in Labrador has prompted RCMP to order the evacuation of two communities north of Goose Bay.

RCMP issues order for North West River and Sheshatshiu

A raging fire burning in Labrador has prompted RCMP to order the evacuation of two communities north of Goose Bay.

The communities of North West River and Sheshatshiu are under an evacuation order issued by the RCMP, as they are in the direct path of a fire that was moving at about four kilometres an hour.

Evacuees will be brought to the Labrador Training Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where Red Cross volunteers have been told to go. The training centre is a large gym and recreational facility.

The Red Cross had brought in several hundred emergency-preparedeness kits in anticipation of the evacuation order.

North West River Mayor Earnie McLean said he went door-to-door warning residents to leave their homes.

Buses in both communities were taking evacuees to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, though most opted to drive themselves.

North West River is home to 553 people, according to the 2011 census. The town is 33 kilometres from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Sheshatshiu Innu Nation has a population of 1,314 and is 32 kilometres from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Earlier Saturday, forestry officials with the provincial government issued an advisory for Sheshatshiu and North West River to evacuate.

No rain has been forecast in the coming days.

On Friday, crews were reportedly fighting 13 of 37 fires in Labrador, with a week-old blaze just north of North West River and the fire near the coastal Labrador community of Charlottetown burning out of control.

Evacuees in need of aid are asked to call 709-497-8533 or 709-896-1013.