TIMMINS -- The City of Timmins is accepting evacuees from Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope, while a nearby forest fire poses a health risk for people with respiratory issues.

The city welcomed a flight of around 40 evacuees Wednesday night and is expecting three more flights with around 150 people Thursday evening.

"They're really looking to evacuate about 400 of their most vulnerable people, which could be little babies to elders in their community," said Timmins Fire Department Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Laughren.

It is the first time in recent memory that Timmins will have hosted the community, Laughren said. 

He said the forest fire is around 50 kilometres away from Fort Hope, with the main health risk coming from smoke wafting through the area.

Laughren said the fire department has been communicating with the community and the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre to arrange transportation to the Victor M. Power Airport and then to shelter at the Ramada Inn on Riverside Drive. 

He said COVID-19 regulations will be enforced, including physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment. 

This is a developing story, check back for more details.