Residents of Temagami return home as forest fires keep burning
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.