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Evacuees return

by Chris Daponte

ARTHUR - All 204 Sandy Lake residents returned home safely by July 28, just one week after being evacuated to the community centre in Arthur.

Originally expected to stay anywhere from two to four weeks,  the evacuees returned early to their northern Ontario First Nation community after fire restrictions were lifted in the area and it was determined the 114 forest fires still burning posed a low risk to most communities there.

Officials are lauding the hospitality of local residents, volunteers and businesses, as well as the efforts of every member of the emergency coordinating team, which included the township, county, OPP, Wellington North Fire Services, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Guelph-Wellington EMS and Canadian Red Cross.

The total cost of the operation is unknown at this time, but county officials expect to have a figure within two months, after which time they will file an application with the federal government for reimbursement.

According to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, over 541,000 hectares of land have been affected by the fires in northern Ontario, displacing over 2,700 residents.

More than 2,000 firefighters have helped battle the blazes - about 30% from outside Ontario - including the use of about 100 aircrafts.

For the full story, seen next week’s Wellington Advertiser or visit after Aug. 4.


July 29, 2011


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