Res­i­dents of Temagami re­turn home as for­est fires keep burn­ing

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - GABRIELE ROY

Res­i­dents of a north­east­ern On­tario com­mu­nity af­fected by for­est fires are back in the homes they were forced to leave ear­lier this week.

While a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­der has been lifted in Temagami, Ont., fire­fight­ers in the area were still bat­tling 25 ac­tive fires Fri­day, said Shayne Mc­Cool, fire in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer from the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Forestry.

Even though they’re back in their homes, some res­i­dents were still wor­ried by the sit­u­a­tion.

“It is not only a fire, it’s a for­est fire so it won’t be done any time soon,” said Stephanie Wag­ner, who owns the Temagami Shores Inn & Re­sort with her hus­band.

Wag­ner said ap­prox­i­mately 30 peo­ple had to leave the re­sort, where she lives with her hus­band and their son, on Sun­day.

“We were cry­ing and leav­ing ev­ery­thing be­hind be­cause our first pri­or­ity was safety for our staff and our guests,” she said. “We drove into town and waited for a few hours but the smoke was so heavy that we had to stay at our friends’ house.”

They were able to go back to their prop­erty on Wed­nes­day evening and are now host­ing some of the pi­lots and staff bat­tling the for­est fires in the area, Wag­ner said.

De­spite the fires, Wag­ner said nu­mer­ous guests are start­ing to gather at the re­sort for a wed­ding on Satur­day. “The sit­u­a­tion is not ideal, but the bride and groom are ready to rock.”

Mayor Lorie Hunter said that de­pend­ing on the force of the wind, the smoke and the fire can still be seen in the com­mu­nity.

“The res­i­dents are cau­tious be­cause the sit­u­a­tion could change at any mo­ment and they could be asked to leave again,” Hunter said.

A num­ber of wa­ter bombers are op­er­at­ing dur­ing the day to con­trol the fires, which cre­ates smoke, said Wag­ner.

Al­most 200 fire­fight­ers from across Canada have joined the 400 fire­fight­ers al­ready on the ground in On­tario’s north­east.

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