Lack of host communities hampering Pikangikum evacuation: chief

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PIKANGIKUM, Ont. — The chief of an Ontario First Nation threatened by a forest fire says a plan to evacuate residents via buses and boats today has been paused because of a lack of space in host communities.

A full evacuation of Pikangikum First Nation was ordered on Monday as crews battle a fire burning about six kilometres southwest of the community.

Residents have been leaving on military flights, as well as on boats and buses that have been taking them to communities in northern Ontario.

Chief Amanda Sainnawap says a in a statement posted on Facebook that six buses and ten boats that were to move residents out of Pikangikum will not run today.

She says 300 people are still set to be airlifted out today.

The province’s solicitor general has said the government is reaching out to mayors across the province to ask that their communities host evacuees as Pikangikum’s 3,800 residents leave their homes.

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