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Northern Ont. communities evacuating due to spreading wildfires

Communities affected by wildfires in the region are evacuating for safety reasons.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said there is significant danger as several out-of-control wildfires affect air quality and physical safety.

“The Highway 810, Massey Tote Road area … we’re asking folks to leave that area immediately,” said ministry spokesperson Shayne McCool.

The MNRF also ordered the evacuation of campers and cottagers north of Abitibi Lake, East of Iroquois falls, where one of the region’s largest fires is raging on at more than 4,200 hectares.

A similar sized fire is burning in the Sudbury area, which quadrupled from just more than 1,000 hectares within 24 hours.

There are currently 33 active fires in the region, 29 of them not under control and all discovered within the last two weeks.

Ontario’s fire season is off to a scorching start. Last year saw a total of 78 wildfires and this year has already far surpassed that with 167.

“The 10-year average for this time of year is 157 fires,” said McCool.

“So, you can see we’ve now climbed over our 10-year average and we are seeing new fire starts regularly, throughout this week.”

McCool said much of the spike in forest fires can be attributed to lightning and dry conditions, but that the ministry will investigate the cause of every fire.

Meanwhile, smoke from those fires is affecting nearby communities. Mattagami First Nation, south of Timmins, is evacuating vulnerable people. Apitipi Anicinapek Nation, just by Abitibi Lake, is also considering evacuation plans. Top Stories

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