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Updated: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:40:56 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Forest fire puts Labrador town on evacuation notice



Forest fire puts Labrador town on evacuation notice

Officials in the mining town of Wabush in western Labrador have told residents to be prepared for an evacuation order, as a forest fire rages nearby.

The province's Department of Natural Resources said in a release Friday morning that winds continue to be light, and the smoke is now moving in a northeast direction, running parallel to the town.

Earth moving equipment is currently on site.

Mayor Ron Barron issued a warning to the town of about 2,000 late Thursday night, asking residents to prepare "to-go" kits that should include medication, a change of clothing and cash.

"It is important to note this is an advisory only, and no action is necessary at this time," Barron said in a statement.

More than 30 volunteer firefighters have been going door-to-door to notify homeowners of the advisory.

Cliffs Resources, which operates the iron ore mine in the town, has used heavy equipment to set up a fire block between the forest and the town.

Meanwhile, a fourth water bomber joined the effort Friday, with a crew flying in from Happy Valley-Goose Bay in central Labrador. Two helicopters were helping with the effort.

Chuck Porter, a conservation officer with the Department of Natural Resources, said crews have been calling in additional resources to combat the fire.

"Every day we get people walking into the office here offering water suppression equipment, everything from the Tim Hortons' canteens to a thousand gallon pumper truck and everything in between," Porter said.

Porter said weather conditions forecasted for the weekend may help fight the fire.

"Looking forward to the next couple days — got a forecast of some rain along the way," he said.

The town said residents should include such things as cellphone chargers, diapers, infant formula and necessities in their bags.

Pet owners have also been told to be prepared with cages and food ready to go should the fire take a turn toward the town.

Should an evacuation order be issued, Wabush residents are being asked to go to the Arts and Cultural Centre in nearby Labrador City, where officials are planning to set up a reception centre.

Barron said registering there is important so that officials can track town's residents.

Forest fires have been burning outside Labrador City and Wabush, as well as on land in nearby Quebec, since the weekend, and have destroyed a string of cabins.

No one has been injured.

Aerial crews, including water bombers and a helicopter, have tried to push back the fires with water, but weather conditions have helped fuel the blazes.

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