Henvey Inlet First Nations evacuation extension ends but on alert

HENVEY INLET FIRST NATION-An evacuation order of all 175 on reserve residents at Henvey Inlet First Nation is continuing until Aug., 10 after they were forced to leave their homes late last month when the Parry Sound 33 forest fire smoke hit their area.

It is the second time the evacuation has been extended with smoke from the fires a major concern. 

Water bucketer over northern Ontario forest fires. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.)

Henvey Inlet First Nation is located along Highway 69/400 between Sudbury and Parry Sound. Residents evacuated via road to both Parry Sound and Sudbury, with the majority in Sudbury. At the time of evacuation, there weren’t enough hotel rooms in Sudbury to accommodate the evacuees,  sending some went to Parry Sound.

Evacuated residents (Supplied Photo)

 In a press statement Friday, Henvey Inlet First Nation said  is grateful for the fire crews and support staff working on extinguishing the fire.

“So far, crews had good results combating the fire. Sprinkler systems are in place on every household and building in the community as a precautionary measure.”

The statement said  Chief and Council issued a State of Emergency of July 21st, which initiated the evacuation from the community. Leadership will continue to reassess the evacuation order on a weekly basis dependant on reports from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The health and safety of HIFN citizens is the first and foremost concern of Leadership, who will only rescind the evacuation order when it is deemed absolutely safe to do so.

Chief Wayne McQuabbie extended his support to neighbouring communities affected by the fire.  “We understand that fire crews are staving off the fire from jumping the Lower Pickerel River, and we’re hoping it doesn’t jump over where there is a higher density of residents and cottagers.”

The statement said “community members are understandably worried and concerned about their homes, and media is encouraged to respect the privacy of HIFN citizens and contact the Communications Coordinator for interviews. Understanding and  cooperation from media during this very stressful time is greatly appreciated.”

The fire began on July 18 and  is now estimated to measure over 11,000 hectares and is not under control.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said that crews continue to make excellent progress in critical areas, especially along the northeast side of the fire near the Pickerel River.

According to the MNRF, the fire remains south of Key Harbour, and north of the HenveyInlet waterway. Crews are working on perimeter containment on the southeast side of the fire north of Henvey Inlet. Wednesday, waterbombers and helicopters worked in conjunction with crews to help tie off areas of activity.

 

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