Transcript: Making Wildfire Evacuations Safer | Sep 24, 2021

The Agenda logo, the letter a and a period appears in the bottom left. Text reads, making wildfire evacuations safer. A man wears a black suit jacket, white shirt and purple tie. Behind him, a screen reads, Ontario Hubs. Text reads, Jeyan Jeganathan. Beside the text is the Twitter logo, a bird, with text that reads, @JeyanTVO, @TheAgenda. Jeyan sits at a desk with a paper.

The man says, HUNDREDS OF
WILDFIRES BURNING ACROSS
NORTHERN ONTARIO THIS SUMMER
MEANT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE
EVACUATED FROM THEIR HOMES.

Jeyan says, NICK DUNNE COVERS THE NORTHEAST
FOR ONTARIO HUBS.
HE'S BEEN LOOKING INTO WHAT IT
REVEALED ABOUT THIS PROVINCE'S
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CAPACITY
AND JOINS US NOW FROM SUDBURY
FOR MORE.
HEY, NICK.

Nick Dunne sits in front of a book shelf. He wears a suit jacket, light blue shirt and purple striped tie. He has brown hair and wears headphones.

Nick says, HI, JEYAN.

Jeyan says, SO WE'VE HEARD ABOUT
FOREST FIRES ACROSS CANADA AND
THE U.S.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL THINK ABOUT
BRITISH COLUMBIA, BUT OF COURSE
THERE HAVE BEEN FIRES AFFECTING
TOWNS AND CITIES HERE IN ONTARIO
AS WELL.

Text reads, dangerous times. Below Nick, text reads, Sudbury, ON.

Jeyan says, AND YOU WERE FOLLOWING ONE IN
DEER LEAK, DEER LAKE RATHER, FIRST NATIONS.
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE FOR THEM
THERE?

Nick says, UM, IT WAS QUITE A STRESSFUL
SITUATION.

Text reads, Nick Dunne, northeastern Ontario Hub journalist.

Nick says, THEY HADN'T RECEIVED UH, HARDLY ANY UH,
RAIN IN MONTHS.
UH, IT WAS GETTING DRIER.
THE LAKE WATER LEVELS WERE DROPPING.
AND UH, AROUND UH, EARLY JULY IS WHEN
THEY STARTED TO SEE ASHES FLYING
INTO THE COMMUNITY, MEANING THAT
WIND WAS BLOWING THE FIRE
CLOSER.
UH, BY JULY 1st, UH, RED LAKE 51 FIRE
WAS ABOUT UH, 6 SQUARE KILOMETRES.
BY UH, JULY 11th, UH, WHEN THE COMMUNITY
BEGAN THEIR EVACUATION PROCESS,
IT WAS LOOKING CLOSER TO 260
SQUARE KILOMETRES UH, IN SIZE, UH, AND
HEADING VERY CLOSE TO THE
COMMUNITY.
IN FACT, NEARLY 20 KILOMETRES
AWAY.
SO, IT WAS AN INCREDIBLY UH, RISKY
SITUATION AND THEY ARE ONE OF
SIX FIRST NATIONS IN
NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO THIS YEAR
THAT HAD TO BE EVACUATED.

Jeyan says, I WANT TO PULL UP AN
AERIAL PHOTO.

An aerial photo is displayed. Part of what looks like a forest in the centre of two lakes has green trees while a larger portion is black.

Jeyan says, YOU CAN SEE ON THE TOP PART OF
THAT PHOTO JUST, BLACK.
UH, CAN YOU TELL US WHAT WE'RE
LOOKING AT HERE?

Nick says, YEAH.
SO THIS IS AN AERIAL SHOT THAT
COUNCILLOR DAVID NEGUS TOOK OF
DEER LAKE FIRST NATION, UH, JUST
KIND OF SHOWING SOME OF THE
DEVASTATION ALONG THE WAY.
UM, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE
FLYING OVER AND SEEING THIS AS
YOU'RE HEADING BACK OR HEADING
OUT FROM YOUR COMMUNITY.
UH, YOU KNOW, WE OFTEN THINK ABOUT
THESE UH, LARGE STRETCHES OF
NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO AS BEING
JUST WILDLIFE AND UH, NATURE AND
FOREST, BUT, THERE ARE MANY, MANY
COMMUNITIES, YOU KNOW, WELL OVER
40 COMMUNITIES IN THIS AREA
THAT'S ABOUT THE SIZE OF FRANCE.
UM, SO IT'S A, QUITE A SCARY UH,
PROPOSITION TO SEE WHEN UH, YOU'RE
COMING IN OR OUT OF YOUR
COMMUNITY.

Jeyan says, NOW, YOU SPOKE TO
ENVIRONMENT CANADA CLIMATOLOGIST
DAVID PHILLIPS, NOT ONLY ABOUT
THE NUMBER OF FIRES BUT HOW
THEY'RE DIFFERENT THAN EVER
BEFORE.
WHAT DID, WHAT DID HE SHARE WITH YOU?

Nick says, MM-HMM.
WELL UH, DAVID PHILLIPS, UH, REALLY
WASN'T MINCING WORDS WHEN HE
SPOKE WITH ME, JEYAN.
UH, HE SAYS THAT THE FIRE SEASON
STARTS EARLIER, IT ENDS LATER.
THESE FIRES ARE BIGGER.
UH, IT'S DRIER OUT.
AND UH, IT'S UH, IMPACTING MORE PEOPLE.
UM, HE SENT ME SOME DATA, UH, GOING BACK
FROM THE 1980’S TO SHOW THAT
THE 10-YEAR AVERAGE, UM, HAS MORE
THAN DOUBLED IN TERMS OF THE
TOTAL AREA OF FIRES BEING
BURNED.
SO FROM 1983 TO 1993, UM, TO 2011 TO
2021, WE'VE SEEN MORE THAN A
DOUBLING OF THE TOTAL AREA THAT
GETS BURNED ON AVERAGE.
SO, IT'S ACCELERATING UH, AT A PRETTY
RAPID PACE AND HE'S SAYING THAT
IN THE NEXT CENTURY, UH, YOU KNOW,
WE CAN SEE THESE NUMBERS DOUBLE
TO UH, GO UP TEN-FOLD, UH, DEPENDING ON
VARIOUS MODELS.
SO THIS IS BECOMING AN
INCREASING REALITY THAT AS WE UH,
SEE MORE AREA BURNED, WE'RE
PUTTING MORE COMMUNITIES AT
RISK, FIRST NATIONS AND
OTHERWISE, UH, FOR THESE KINDS OF
DISASTERS.
SO THEY'RE GOING TO BECOME, YOU
KNOW, OVER TIME, MORE COMMON.

Jeyan says, AH, LET'S TALK ABOUT
THOSE COMMUNITIES.
AH, YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT, I IMAGINE
IT'S NOT AS SIMPLE AS JUST
BOARDING PEOPLE ON A PLANE AND
THEN SENDING THEM TO, YOU KNOW,
A CAMP OR A CITY.

Nick nods.

Jeyan says, BUT WHAT KIND OF WORK GOES INTO UM,
HOSTING COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE TO
EVACUATE?

Nick says, RIGHT.
SO ALL LEVELS ARE, OF GOVERNMENT ARE
INVOLVED IN THIS, AND THAT
INCLUDES TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
AND THE FIRST NATIONS
THEMSELVES, RIGHT?

Text reads, Nick Dunne, northeastern Ontario Hub journalist.

Nick says, UH, MUNICIPALITIES, THE PROVINCE,
AND UH, INDIGENOUS SERVICES CANADA
ARE ALL INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS
OF UH, THE EVACUATIONS.
UM, AND OF COURSE IT IS MORE THAN JUST
(indiscernible).
SO THE PROVINCE WILL BE THE ONES TYPICALLY
COORDINATING THE PROVINCE-WIDE
EFFORT, WHO GOES WHERE, ASKING VARIOUS
MUNICIPALITIES TO HOST.
BUT THE HOST COMMUNITIES THEMSELVES ARE
LOOKING MORE FOR THAN JUST A
ROOF OVER PEOPLE'S HEADS AND UH, YOU KNOW,
SOME FOOD, THREE MEALS A DAY,
RIGHT?

Jeyan nods. Text reads, emergency measures.

Nick says, IT'S AH, MENTAL HEALTH CARE,
PHYSICAL HEALTH CARE, UM, YOU KNOW,
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES.
THESE PEOPLE CAN BE HERE FOR
YOU KNOW, WELL OVER A MONTH, RIGHT?
UH, AND WHEN YOU’RE EXPERIENCING THAT KIND
OF STRESS, WHEN YOU'VE BEEN
DISPLACED UH, LIKE THESE COMMUNITIES
HAVE, THERE'S A TON THAT HAS TO
BE DONE AND A TON THAT HAS TO BE
TAKEN CARE OF.

Text reads, Nick Dunne, @NickFDunne.

Nick says, YOU KNOW, EVEN
REUNIFYING FAMILIES BECAUSE
COMMUNITIES GET SENT OUT IN
STAGES, RIGHT?
SO YOU MIGHT HAVE, UH, YOU KNOW, A
MOTHER, WELL, THIS HAPPENED IN
DEER LAKE, WHO’S UH, IN CORNWALL,
OR, IN THUNDER BAY
WHILE HER CHILDREN WERE IN
CORNWALL, WHICH IS WELL OVER
1,600 KILOMETRES AWAY.
UH, SO YOU CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE THE
STRESS THAT A LOT OF THESE
PEOPLE GO THROUGH UH, ON A YEARLY
BASIS, YOU KNOW, UH, ESPECIALLY IF
THEY'RE DOING THIS, YOU KNOW, MULTIPLE
TIMES OVER THE NEXT DECADE,
RIGHT?

Jeyan says, I AM CURIOUS ABOUT THAT, UH,
SOMETHING THAT, THAT STUCK OUT, UH,
TO ME, IN YOUR, IN YOUR ARTICLE FOR TVO.ORG IS
THAT THE TWO CITIES THAT WERE
CHOSEN FOR THIS PARTICULAR
EVACUATION WAS IN THUNDER BAY
AND CORNWALL, LIKE YOU
MENTIONED, VERY FAR FROM EACH
OTHER.

The article,

An article is displayed titled, “’Maxed out’: Northern communities call for more evacuation support”. Text reads, tvo.org/OntarioHubs.

Jeyan asks, UM, HOW DO,
HOW DO THEY DECIDE WHERE, YOU
KNOW, WHERE THEY WILL GO?
IS THIS JUST SORT OF LIKE WHO'S
AVAILABLE?

Nick says, YEAH.
IT'S OFTEN A QUESTION OF
AVAILABILITY.
UM, MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE
CITY OF THUNDER BAY WAS ALREADY
HOSTING A NUMBER OF COMMUNITIES
AND THEY WERE ABLE TO TAKE A
CERTAIN NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN FROM UH,
DEER LAKE.

Text reads, Nick Dunne, northeastern Ontario Hub journalist.

Nick says, BUT UH, THEY WERE JUST
OVERCAPACITY, RIGHT?
UH, THUNDER BAY IS JUST GENERALLY
THE NATURAL CHOICE GIVEN THAT
IT'S THE LARGEST CITY IN
NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO AND HAS KINDA THE
MOST AVAILABLE SERVICES.
SO UH, THE NAV CENTRE IN CORNWALL,
WHICH IS AGAIN AT THE FAR
STRETCH OF UH, EASTERN ONTARIO, UH, HAD
ABOUT A DAY, UH, TO PREPARE ABOUT 500
PEOPLE.
UM, THEY WERE PARTLY CLOSED, THEY
HAD TO RECALL STAFF AND UH,
ACCOMMODATE THESE PEOPLE IN A
VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

Jayen nods.

Nick says, UM, I BELIEVE ALSO, THE, THE CITY OF
COCHRANE OR THE TOWN OF
COCHRANE, RATHER, HAD A NUMBER
OF UH, PEOPLE AS WELL.
SO PEOPLE ARE KIND OF SPREAD
ACROSS THE PROVINCE IN VARIOUS
STAGES JUST BASED ON THE, UH,
ABILITY OF VARIOUS
MUNICIPALITIES TO HOLD A CERTAIN
NUMBER OF PEOPLE.

Jeyan says, HMM.
NOW, AS WE ALL KNOW, CANADIANS
REELECTED A, ANOTHER LIBERAL
MINORITY GOVERNMENT.
I'M CURIOUS, UM, HAS THIS GOVERNMENT
IN THE PAST OR, OR NOW MADE ANY SORT
OF PLEDGE TO HELP UH, DEALING WITH
NOT ONLY THE FIRES BUT ALSO THE
EVACUATIONS?

Nick says, WELL AH, PART OF THE LIBERAL
GOVERNMENT'S PLATFORM UH, THIS YEAR
INCLUDED $500 MILLION TOWARDS
INCREASED EQUIPMENT AND UH, STAFFING
AND TRAINING FOR COMMUNITY-LED
FIRE UH, FIGHTERS.

Text reads, Nick Dunne, northeastern Ontario Hub journalist.

Nick says, SO YOU'RE LOOKING AT
COMMUNITY-BASED FIRE GROUPS AND
EVEN UH, FIRST NATIONS FIRE GROUPS
ARE INCLUDED IN THAT.
UM, THERE'S ALSO AH, TALK OF UH,
IMPLEMENTING A NATIONAL CLIMATE
CHANGE ADAPTATION STRATEGY, UH,
WHICH IS A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT
THING.
BUT CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IS
A VERY BROAD, UH, KINDA AREA OF UH,
STUDY, RIGHT?
YOU KNOW, THIS INCLUDES
EVERYTHING FROM BUILDING RAISED
BEDS ON YOUR HOMES TO PREVENT
FLOODING, UH, RISKS BUT UM, YOU KNOW,
EVERYONE FROM PHILLIPS TO UH,
DR. UM, DAVID PEARSON AT LAURENTIAN
UNIVERSITY WHO’S WORKING WITH A
NUMBER OF UH, TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS…

Text reads, Nick Dunne, @NickFDunne.

Nick says, …UH, ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION,
YOU KNOW, HE SAYS THAT, UH, YOU
KNOW, EVACUATIONS ARE AN
INEVITABLE ADAPTATION, RIGHT,
THAT UH, WE HAVE TO MOVE PEOPLE OUT
AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE,
AGGRAVATING NATURAL OCCURRENCES
LIKE THESE UH, FIRES.
SO IT'S YET TO BE SEEN WHETHER
OR NOT, UM, YOU KNOW, EVACUATIONS
AND HOW STRONGLY EVACUATIONS
PLAY IN THAT LARGER STRATEGY,
BUT IT'S CERTAINLY SOMETHING
THAT CLIMATOLOGISTS, UH, CLIMATE
CHANGE EXPERTS, UH, EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS, AND
FIRST NATIONS THEMSELVES ARE ALL
VERY CONCERNED ABOUT UH, AS WE SEE A
GROWING TREND OF THESE FIRES AND UH,
ULTIMATELY EVACUATIONS.

Jeyan nods. Text reads, produced by Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta.

Jeyan says, SOMETHING WE WILL
CONTINUE TO FOLLOW.
NICK, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Nick nods.

He says, THANKS, JEYAN.

(Light music plays)

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