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Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources says a wildfire threatening a remote Indigenous community in the province’s northwest has grown several times larger.

The ministry says the fire near the eastern edge of Pikangikum First Nation grew on Thursday to more than 3,000 hectares – up from 400 hectares earlier in the day.

Two airtankers and up to 12 fire crews have been battling the blaze, which is out of control about 2.5 kilometres from the fly-in community’s airport.

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Pikangikum, about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay with a population of about 2,300, has declared a state of emergency and ordered mass evacuations.

The Royal Canadian Air Force said two Hercules transport planes were moving 250 high-priority residents to safety.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said in a tweet Friday morning that a third plane was on the way.

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