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Military help in Pikangikum First Nation being ‘drawn down’ as wildfire slows


June 5, 2019   by THE CANADIAN PRESS


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PIKANGIKUM, Ont. – The Canadian Armed Forces says military help is being “drawn down” in a remote northwestern Ontario First Nation as a wildfire that triggered the evacuation of vulnerable residents slows its spread.

Second Lt. Christopher Dube says in a statement that “the need for military aircraft capabilities has waned” over the last 48 hours in Pikangikum First Nation.

He says armed forces have evacuated more than 1,700 people from the community about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay and delivered them to host cities in Ontario and Manitoba.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said Monday that the fire had begun to slow its spread.

The blaze began last Wednesday and a military spokesperson said it covered 38 square kilometres by Monday.

A special air quality statement remains in effect for the Pikangikum area, with Environment Canada warning that “high levels of air pollution are possible” on Wednesday due to smoke from forest fires