Thunder Bay·Updated

Evacuation ordered for residents of Red Lake, Ont. as firefighters battle growing blaze

Residents of Red Lake, Ont. have been requested to evacuate as soon as possible by the municipality as Red Lake 49 blaze has "caused a risk for all residents."
Residents in Red Lake, Ont. are under a community advisory and a stretch of Highway 618 is closed as a result of the Red Lake 49 forest fire. Volunteer firefighters and a team from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were actively battling the blaze as of Monday night. (Submitted by Chase William)

Residents of Red Lake, Ont. were asked to evacuate the municipality "as soon as possible" late on Monday evening, as a "forest fire in the area has now posed a risk for all community members."

The municipality stated in a media release that "all vulnerable populations are asked to leave the community immediately."

The release added the municipality is coordinating air transportation with Emergency Management Ontario for vulnerable populations that are unable to leave on Monday night.

The municipality's statement said it is in the process of arranging overnight accommodations for vulnerable populations,  which include those lacking means of transportation or supports, as well as those with breathing difficulties or accessibility concerns. It asked all other residents to stop in at the Township of Ear Falls Office or to register at the Dryden arena/recreation centre, where temporary shelter is available.

The municipality said it is important for residents to register "to ensure we can assist you while you are out of the community."

The Red Lake Neighbourhood Watch Facebook group administration is encouraging residents in Red Lake, Ont. to prepare an evacuation bag in case an evacuation is called, however the group added in a post to its Facebook page late on Monday evening that residents are not in direct or immediate danger. (Submitted by Chase William)

Earlier on Monday evening, the Red Lake 49 forest fire had resulted in a community advisory and a road closure on Highway 618 to east and west bound traffic.

At the time, the blaze was reported to be approximately five hectares in size, with five water bombers active in the area to assist with the efforts.

The Red Lake Neighbourhood Watch Facebook group had encouraged residents to prepare an evacuation bag in case an evacuation was called, and said the Red Lake Airport has been closed to inbound and outbound traffic.

At the time of the post, the neighbourhood watch group added that the fire had "grown massively within the last hour."

The Municipality of Red Lake is providing updates as they become available on its Facebook page.