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About 65 people evacuated at Whitefish Lake First Nation due to uncontrolled fire

Emergency services are currently on scene of an uncontrolled fire in the community of Whitefish Lake First Nation and are evacuating people.

Emergency services are currently on scene of an uncontrolled fire in the community of Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 (Goodfish Lake). RCMP have evacuated multiple houses as the fire is burning out of control. Numerous fire departments responded, including Goodfish Lake’s, Mallaig, Ashmont, Lac La Biche, Beaver Lake, and Kikino Fire Department. 

Rennie Houle, Director of Emergency for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128, says it is great to see its emergency management group activate in a fast, clear, and concise manner. 

Whitefish Lake was notified at around 12:30 p.m. of the fire. Houle says the fire started off-reserve until the wind blew in the direction of the reserve, expanding the fire. 

“It was very dry,” says Houle, explaining that with the dry conditions, things have become more flammable like hay, grass, bushes, and wooded areas. “[The fire] really picked up and went out of control.” 

The fire moved west toward Highway 28 to the direction of the County of St. Paul. Along the way, around 10 houses were affected and evacuated, which would be around 65 residents, according to Houle. “So, we declared an emergency because it was out of control.” 

As of April 22, at 4 p.m., no infrastructure was burned. 

But more people might require evacuation due to the smoke like the elderly and the vulnerable. 

Asked how long it would take to take care of the fire, Houle says it’s difficult to say. The wind constantly shifts, “So it’s very unpredictable.” 


Affected people are being evacuated to the Town of St. Paul to stay at some hotels. Arrangements have also been made with some restaurants. 

Houle thanked all the efforts of everyone helping out. 

He also asks Whitefish Lake’s residents to take utmost precautions in cases of declaration of emergencies. “We’re talking about people’s lives and you never know how things can turn especially with natural disasters,” says Houle. “We’re just trying to prevent and mitigate as much as we can.” 

At 5 p.m., Sgt. Bobby Burgess with the St. Paul RCMP, also asks people to stay away from the area so fire services and the RCMP can focus on fighting the fire and the safe evacuation of people. 

Mario Cabradilla

About the Author: Mario Cabradilla

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