Thunder Bay

Bearskin Lake evacuees begin returning home Friday as flood waters recede

People from Bearskin Lake First Nation, who were evacuated to Thunder Bay due to flooding in their home community, began returning home Friday.

People were forced out of the community Nov. 14 after flooding from an ice jam on the Severn River

Bearskin Lake First Nation declared a state of emergency Nov. 10 due to the threat of flooding from the nearby Severn River. People began to leave the community Nov. 14. They started to return home Nov. 29. (Google)

People from Bearskin Lake First Nation, who were evacuated to Thunder Bay, Ont., due to flooding in their home community, began returning home Friday.

Multiple flights are scheduled over the next few days to help more than 150 residents go home, Dave Paxton, the deputy chief of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, said in a written release Nov. 29.

"Bearskin Lake Community Leadership discussed the river situation with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and determined that the flow levels and ice conditions had returned to a level where they were comfortable with returning the community members home," he stated.

"Work still continues on the roads and other infrastructure to repair and the MNR will continue to monitor the river conditions," Paxton said. 

A state of emergency was declared on Nov. 10 because of an ice jam along the Severn River, which caused a rapid rise in the water level.

Thunder Bay and several other northern communities have been hosting evacuees since Nov. 14.

About 460 people live in Bearskin Lake, which is a fly-in community about 425 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout.