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Residents urged not to return to Red Lake: OPP

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The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are warning people not to return to Red Lake right now.

In a press release, the Red Lake/Ear Falls OPP said they have received reports that people who had previously evacuated Red Lake due to the nearby forest fire, officially named Red Lake Fire 049, have been returning to the community to retrieve some of their personal property, or to remain at their homes in order to protect them from the fire.

The OPP reminds the public that evacuation orders are made to protect the public in unpredictable and dangerous situations.

“A request to evacuate is made with the safety of residents as the priority,” the statement said.

“Red Lake Fire 049 is not under control despite unending efforts by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) who are working diligently to protect our community. The situation is dynamic and can change quickly. Frontline workers are collaborating to keep the community safe. Residents can do their part by following the recommendations which allows frontline workers to focus on their tasks.”

In an update provided by the MNRF yesterday, the ministry said Red Lake Fire 049 is located three kilometres south of the Red Lake townsite and three kilometres west of Highway 105. As of this morning the ministry's interactive fire map lists the size of the blaze as 552 hectares, down from yesterday's approximate 750 hectares. Though the ministry said that progress is being made in fighting the fire, it is still listed as not under control, with ground crews, machinery, helicopters and water bombers still engaged in fighting the fire.

Highway 105 remains open southbound, and Highway 618 accessing Madsen remains closed.

For up-to-date road information, check 511.on.ca, and for evacuation-related updates, residents are encouraged to check the Municipality of Red Lake's Facebook page and to tune in to local radio stations.

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