RED LAKE, Ont. -- The Municipality of Red Lake is ordering all residents of the Northwestern Ontario community to evacuate as a forest fire threatens the town.
"All vulnerable populations are asked to leave the community immediately. If you are unable to leave tonight, we are co-ordinating air transportation with Emergency Management Ontario," community leaders said in a release issued by the municipality.
According to the release, a forest fire in the area poses a risk to all community members, particularly those who are vulnerable, a group that includes anyone without a means of transportation, anyone without supports, those with breathing difficulties and those with accessibility concerns.
"We will assist all those who consider themselves vulnerable. Please call 807-727-7106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in the process of arranging overnight accommodations and will direct you accordingly."
All other residents are being asked to stop at the Township of Ear Falls office on their way through Ear Falls, or to register at teh Dryden Arena and Recreation Centre.
"Temporary shelter is available for those in need at the Dryden Arena/Recreation Centre. It is important that you register to ensure we can assist you while you are out of the community."
Residents are being asked to check on their neighbours and ensure everyone is accounted for and provided with safe means out of Red Lake.
"It is the safety of our residents that is our first priority. We ask that all residents follow this directive to ensure the safety and well-being of all of us," said Red Lake Mayor Fred Mota.
Early Monday afternoon the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services say Red Lake 49 is a five-hectare fire located approximately two kilometres northeast of Madsen. It has since grown to more than 400 acres.
It is not under control at this time and was being attacked via aerial suppression on Monday afternoon.
OPP on Monday evening announced Highway 618 in Madsen has been closed to east- and west-bound traffic as a result of the fire.