Forest fire prompts full evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation in Ontario

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forest fire
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PIKANGIKUM, Ont. — The Ontario government says a full evacuation of the northern First Nation of Pikangikum has begun as a forest fire burns nearby.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Solicitor General says around 2,000 vulnerable members started to be moved to Kapuskasing, Ont., and Hearst, Ont., on Sunday.

Brent Ross says the full evacuation means others in the community of 3,800 will now be flown out as well.

The evacuation comes a day after Pikangikum declared an emergency due to smoke from the nearby blaze, which is about 404 square kilometres in size and burning about six kilometres southwest of the community, on the opposite side of a lake.

It’s the second time this year that residents of the First Nation have had to leave due to forest fires — more than 2,000 were forced from their homes in late May and early June.

Meanwhile, the northwestern Ontario First Nation of Keewaywin has also declared an emergency and evacuated its residents last week as a different forest fire — which is about 719 square kilometres in size — burns eight kilometres south of the community.

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