Flames on rampage in northern Ontario

Timmons under state of emergency

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TIMMINS, Ont. -- A raging forest fire that's spewing smoke and ash toward Timmins has jumped Highway 144 southwest of the northern Ontario city.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/05/2012 (3848 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TIMMINS, Ont. — A raging forest fire that’s spewing smoke and ash toward Timmins has jumped Highway 144 southwest of the northern Ontario city.

And fire crews report a new fire on Highway 101 southwest of Timmins has forced the evacuation of the Old Mill campground.

The city of 43,000 is under a state of emergency.

CP Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources A fire burns near Timmons, Ont., Thursday. A campground was evacuated.

Mayor Tom Laughren said more than 225 people have been forced from rural communities including Hydro Bay, Kamiskotia Highway and Cooks Lake.

Many have sought shelter with the Red Cross, while others are staying with friends or family. That’s in addition to an evacuation order for the nearby Mattagami First Nation that saw 118 residents relocate to Kapuskasing.

“I think the next 48 to 72 hours… will be critical,” the mayor said Friday.

Laughren said he hopes the skies will clear up enough to allow water bombers to take on the flames.

Premier Dalton McGuinty praised firefighters, emergency workers, leaders and volunteers for their work. He paid a visit Thursday to Kirkland Lake, where crews have largely contained a massive forest fire that had been threatening the town.

On Friday, McGuinty expressed his admiration for those in northern communities such as Kirkland Lake and Timmins, where his mother is from.

“A number of people have already been evacuated and about 90 per cent of those…. have not called upon the provincial government or the municipality to help them with their accommodation costs. They’ve gone to friends and family,” McGuinty said in Thunder Bay.

“That is a wonderful tribute to people in the north,” he said.

“There is a determination, a resilience, a commitment, a grit, a drive to find success and to keep moving forward not withstanding any challenges, that is nothing short of remarkable. And I see that in the way folks pull together.”

Kirkland Lake, about 140 kilometres southeast of Timmins, remained on high evacuation alert Friday. The community of almost 10,000 was dealing with high winds.

Kirkland Lake schools were closed as a precautionary measure and municipal officials set up a $100,000 fund in case an evacuation is necessary.

The Ministry of the Attorney General closed the Kirkland Lake courthouse on Friday and it will remain closed until it’s deemed safe to resume court services.

The fire roughly 30 kilometres outside Timmins has forced the closure of a gold mine operated by Lake Shore Gold Corp. No relief from extreme burning conditions was expected until at least Sunday, the ministry said.

— The Canadian Press

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