Smoke from raging forest fires near Sioux Lookout in northern Ontario has forced the air evacuation of residents of the Kingfisher Lake reserve. Among the almost 200 people airlifted out was the Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa, northern Ontario area bishop.
The evacuees were prioritized according to age and need, with elders, the disabled, people with respiratory ailments and mothers with young children among the first to leave.
“Two planes, each carrying about 90 people, left yesterday and one was scheduled to leave today,” said the bishop in a telephone interview. “It was unable to land twice because of poor visibility, possibly due to the smoke.”
The reserve is very isolated and has no access roads in summer. “In winter there are ice roads,” said Mamakwa. She is uncertain how long it will be before residents can return.
The bishop asked people to remember the evacuees in their prayers.