Evacuation Of Deer Lake First Nation Complete
Most Vulnerable Residents Airlifted On Military Aircraft
530 Deer Lake residents have now been safely evacuated from their community which is threatened by nearby forest fires.
Forest fires had been burning as close as 3.5 kilometres from the remote northwest Ontario community. At the request of Deer Lake First Nation Chief Roy Meekis and Band Council, the province and its municipal and federal partners coordinated the airlift of residents to the Regional Municipality of Greenstone, 615 kilometres to the southeast. Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Canadian Forces worked closely together to successfully carry out the operation.
- EMO is coordinating with local officials in Greenstone and the Deer Lake Band Council to ensure the wellbeing of the evacuees.
- MNR personnel continue to fight multiple fires in northwest Ontario with ground crews and water bombers.
- EMO and MNR will continue to monitor the situation and work on contingency plans in case the situation worsens and more evacuations become necessary.
- Seven residents of Deer Lake were evacuated by ORNGE air ambulances in collaboration with Health Canada.
- Other First Nations communities affected by the fires are: Sandy Lake, Cat Lake, North Spirit Lake and Keewaywin.
- Federal Partners involved in the effort included the Canadian Forces, Health Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
- The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating provincial efforts.
“Thank you to everyone involved in the safe evacuation of the Deer Lake community. The Canadian Forces responded to the request of help with professionalism and efficiency. They were vital to evacuating Deer Lake residents quickly and safely.”
“Canada Command is always ready to quickly provide the unique capabilities of the Canadian Forces in service of our fellow citizens, wherever they might live across the country, It is through working closely with the province of Ontario that we were able to respond to the needs of the residents of Deer Lake. I am impressed with the dedication and professionalism displayed by all military, federal, provincial and local personnel nvolved in this important mission.”
Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw