Ontario’s far north melting: CNN report

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TORONTO, Ont. – Warmer temperatures in Ontario’s far north are isolating Aboriginal communities as rising temperatures melt their winter truck route and impede their access to supplies, according to a report by CNN.com.

The 34 First Nations reservations, scattered in boreal forest across northern Ontario, are accessible only by plane for much of the year. During the coldest months between January and March, “winter roads” are cleared over rivers and lakes to allow trucks to deliver bulk supplies like fuel and building materials.

But because of rising temperatures, the ice has been weakened, shrinking the bulk-shipping season by several weeks, sources said in CNN’s report. As a result, locals have been forced to hire more trucks to carry lighter loads.

About 20,000 people live in the remote reservations and rely on winter shipments of heating oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel to power generating stations. The crimped duration of icing has added a sense of urgency to the communities’ bulk-shipping period. A source from CNN’s report said once the hauling season is open, there is often a mad rush as the season may only last four or five weeks.

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