MPP for Gogama area meets with residents threatened by fire
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 9:25AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 9:39AM EDT
Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas had a brief chat with one of the first crews deployed to fight Timmins Forest Fire 2 near Gogama.
She's in the community to learn more about the current status of the blaze that consumed more than 5,000 hectares of forest.
"So far, Gogama is still there and the power line is still on. We're all good; walleyes are biting, so we invite all the anglers to come back and enjoy Gogama ." said Gelinas.
Rain is offering fire rangers a reprieve, but their work is not done.
A new crew is loading up to head in to tackle any hot spots.
Meanwhile, local officials found out they did not have the authority to declare a 'state of emergency' over the weekend.
"However, we were assured from Emergency Management Ontario that this was not going to impact the support that was on its way; that was currently here in Gogama or that would be forthcoming moving forward." said Christine Bedard of the local services board.
Gelinas went on to say "seems odd to me right now, I mean the community of Mattagami, which is just next door, was allowed to declare a state of emergency; the community of Gogama was not, although the smoke was just as thick in one community that it was in the other."
While the province will cover the bulk of the costs of putting out the fire, there are some other costs for things like overtime pay and the evacuation bus and driver on standby, among other items. It all adds up to around $18,000.
"Between the assistance from France's office, that we'll be able to get and Emergency Management Ontario, we'll be able to work something out so the taxpayers are not on the handle for these costs." said Bedard.
Gelinas says she can't give any answers to the local services board yet. She says there are other communities in the north that could find themselves in similar situations, so she says she's not giving up on this.