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Hundreds evacuated as wildfires rage in northwestern Ontario

Saturday, July 6th 2019, 3:53 pm - Several hundred people have had to leave their homes due to the fires.

Firefighters in Ontario are spending the weekend grappling with wildfires in the province's northwest, with at least one community evacuated.

The northwestern region currently has some 19 fires burning, five of which are raging out of control. Aside from the remoteness of the fires, firefighters are struggling to contain the flames due to ongoing dry and hot conditions, with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry describing fire weather in the region as "extreme" in a Friday night bulletin.

WATCH BELOW: WHERE THE ONTARIO WILDFIRE SMOKE IS GOING

The ministry is eyeing three particular fires of note that are large and mostly out of control, including one which forced the evacuation of the community of Keewaywin First Nation and some surrounding communities earlier this past week. CBC reports some 250 evacuees are sheltering in Timmins, with more than 220 others sent to Sioux Lookout, which declared a state of emergency to ensure it would be equipped to handle the situation. Pikangikum First Nation has also declared a state of emergency, though it is evacuating vulnerable residents first. On Saturday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale Canadian Forces troops would assist in the evacuation.

That particular fire, known as Red Lake Fire Number 23, was burning eight kilometres away from Keewaywin and has scorched some 72,000 hectares, and was still burning out of control as of Friday night. The ministry says the winds keeping the fire's spread to the southeast.

"Fire Ranger crews have been placing sprinklers around the community. Aerial ignition opportunities will be looked at as well," the ministry says.

Firefighters are also watching two other fires of note.

Red Fire Number 39 is burning at 18,000 hectares, about seven kilometres southwest of the community, and Red Lake Fire Number 40, which is at 8,932 hectares and burning around 40 km north of Red Lake.

WATCH BELOW: NORTH AMERICAN WILDFIRE SEASON FORECAST

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