It's recommended that Canadians have a 72-hour emergency kit ready in case of evacuation, threatening weather, and power outages.

The hot, dry conditions have led to an unusually bad forest fire season, resulting in the evacuation of several First Nation communities and threatening the communities of Red Lake and Madsen.

From Safe Communities Kenora, Maria Bagdonas says region residents need to have their kits ready so they can evacuate at a moment's notice.

"Take the time before an emergency is imminent and get together the things that you want to take with you," said Bagdonas. "Put them in a convenient place so it's just a matter of when the [evacuation] order comes in, it's grab and go."

Some of the items that should be in your emergency kit include;

  • Water and snacks,
  • Important documents, like a passport,
  • Cash,
  • Portable radio and batteries and,
  • Medication

Bagdonas adds that making sure your car is evacuation-ready is a must.

"You definitely don't want to make a stop at the gas station on your way out of town. So take some time, make sure that your car is filled with fuel, that any flats are fixed, that any repairs get done to the vehicle so that you don't have any mechanical issues on your way out via the evacuation route," Bagdonas added.

Kent Readman, Kenora's Fire Chief, agrees that preparation is important.

"It's really good to be prepared. We're seeing more and more of these large-scale evacuations and emergencies happening, it seems like, year after year. The more we can be prepared, the easier it's going to be when the time comes to evacuate," Readman added.

Leadership in Red Lake and Madsen say an evacuation of those communities is likely unless the forest fire situation improves.

Red Lake Fire 77 is approximately 28 kilometres west/northwest of Madsen and is located approximately 33 kilometres west of Red Lake and is currently burning "out of control" at 18,114 hectares. Crews with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry are working alongside municipal firefighters to protect the community and critical infrastructure.