Staff with the City of Dryden are continuing to support many displaced Red Lake residents, who’ve been staying within a temporary shelter at the Dryden Memorial Arena.

Red Lake Fire 49 continues to burn roughly 2 kilometres from the Buffalo neighbourhood and .7 km away from Madsen, after being sparked late Sunday night. Red Lake’s evacuation notice came down on Monday night, and most of the 4,100 residents have since left their homes.

Chief Administrative Officer Roger Nesbitt says the city’s evacuee registration services and support staff from the Kenora District Services Board have been very busy at the arena, particularly on Monday and Tuesday.

Nesbitt says the amount of foot-traffic in the temporary shelter has since slowed, as many evacuees have found shelter with friends, family members, private lodges and more across the region. However, the city will continue to provide shelter as required.

Community Services Manager Steve Belanger, who runs the Dryden Memorial Arena on behalf of the city, adds that the city has offered food and gas vouchers for those in need, as well as various personal care items.

Belanger says between city and KDSB staff, they are well-staffed at the temporary shelter, and they’re covered through the weekend. Although the city is very appreciative of the offers for more volunteers, there are liability concerns due to the COVID-19 situation.

“The response from the businesses community, volunteer organizations, service groups and the general public has been outstanding with many offering time, food or materials for the displaced residents of Red Lake,” wrote Belanger.

“I would say we’re in a good place and that is the result of the support, dedication and efforts of the community at large. We’re extremely thankful and we know our neighbours from Red Lake are grateful and appreciative for the response as well.”

The Dryden Memorial Arena’s roughly 200 cots were donated by Red Cross.

New estimates of the fire said it was about 550 hectares, rather than the 750 hectares in previous days. This was due to better mapping, rather than a reduction in the size of the fire or a change in position.

For more information:
Help for evacuees available
Front line workers going door-to-door in Red Lake