Fire deaths 10 times more likely for residents of Ontario First Nations: report

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A government report has found residents of First Nations in Ontario are 10 times more likely to die in fires than those who live in the rest of the province.

The review from the Office of the Chief Coroner found First Nations children under the age of 10 are 86 times more likely to die in a fire than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The review was spurred by two fatal fires in 2016 that left 14 people dead, and found that 56 people died in 29 fires on First Nations over the course of 10 years ending in 2017.

It found systemic issues attributed to the legacy of colonialism contributed to the high number of deaths.

For instance, the report shows communities with no year-round road access had the highest number of both fatal fires and fire deaths, and those areas have limited or no fire suppression capabilities.

It notes that many of those First Nations were forced off their land and sent to remote reserves in northern Ontario.

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