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More fire evacuees begin heading home

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Ontario has begun helping almost 400 residents return to their homes in Eabametoong/Fort Hope and Sandy Lake, using five planes with 13 flights.

About 100 Sandy Lake residents returning then will be preparing the community to welcome the remainder of their residents over the next few days.

Two additional aircraft are expected to be available tomorrow to support the repatriation of evacuated residents.

As of yesterday morning, 3,438 residents remained in host communities.

The planning for the return of the rest of the evacuated residents to their communities continues in collaboration with the First Nations’ leadership and our federal partners to ensure families can return to their homes safely, as soon as conditions allow.

Fire restrictions were lifted in Zones 1, 2, and 3 yesterday. And although the fires currently pose a low risk to most communities, we constantly are assessing the situation with First Nations’ leadership.

All necessary resources are available and on stand-by should conditions change and further evacuations be required.

A comprehensive fire mapping has been conducted and the number of hectares burned has been adjusted to 541,883.

This is the third-largest fire season for hectares burned since record-keeping began in 1917.

The highest number of hectares burned was 1923 (857,995) while the second-highest was 1995 (612,436).

Firefighting efforts continue across Northwestern Ontario, with a focus on protecting human health and safety.

For the next few days, weather forecasts predict conditions that will support firefighting efforts.

There are 94 active fires in the region, including two in Fort Frances District (both listed as “being observed” in Quetico Provincial Park).

There also are two in Kenora District, three in Thunder Bay District, nine in Nipigon District, 39 in Red Lake District, and 39 in Sioux Lookout District.

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