'Nobody can predict' flooding risk, but Kashechewan moves to full evacuation

A full evacuation of Kashechewan is now underway, as the James Bay community is facing its annual threat of flooding.

So far, 1,500 people have been flown out to towns and cities in the south including Kapuskasing and Timmins.

And now, military transport planes are starting to carry the remaining 280 out of Kashechewan to Hearst and Wawa.

There is no water in the community yet, but officials do not like the looks of the Albany River as the ice starts to break up to the south of the twin First Nations of Kashechewan and Fort Albany. 

Kashechewan Fire Chief Brandon Spence (Erik White/CBC )

“We’re going not to take any chances,” says Brandon Spence, the fire chief in Kashechewan and the evacuation coordinator.

“As MNR (the Ministry of Natural Resources) reported, we’re on extremely high risk of flooding, so we’re not going to take any chances.”

Spence says in a few days, there will only be a handful of emergency personnel left behind in the community. He is also being evacuated in the coming days and will coordinate operations from Timmins.

Still, he says, this is all just a precaution, with no guarantee the community will be flooded. 

“Yeah, nobody can predict what’s to happen, when, where and how. Can’t even guess, I don’t want to even guess,” says Spence. 

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