Wildfires continue to rage across Manitoba


Manitoba Sustainable Development and the Office of the Fire Commissioner advise that hot, dry and windy conditions continue, resulting in elevated wildfire danger levels in many areas of the province.  Fire crews from Northwest Territories and Minnesota, along with water bombers from Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario, have been supporting Manitoba’s wildfire suppression efforts.  An additional five fire crews from Ontario will be joining suppression efforts today.

To date, there have been more than 499 fires this season.  With many other fires burning across the Prairie provinces and Northwest Territories, parts of Manitoba may experience smoky conditions this week.

A large wildfire near Wasagamack remains approximately one kilometre from the community and is approximately 23,000 hectares (ha) in size.  Strong north winds, high temperatures and low humidity levels pushed the wildfire towards the community of Wasagamack, requiring an evacuation of the communities of Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill.  Fire crews are continuing suppression work on the fire line closest to the community, with crews also working on other spot fires located away from the main fire line.  Strong south winds continue to keep smoke away from the community.  Some rain is forecast for this area today.

A wildfire burning near the Fox Lake First Nation remains approximately six km from the community and approximately 1,700 ha in size.  Fire crews are continuing suppression efforts on this fire.

A 4,600-ha wildfire near Poplar River remains approximately 3.5 km from the community.  Warm temperatures and strong winds required the evacuation of residents as a safety precaution.  Fire crews are continuing their suppression efforts on the north flank of this wildfire.  Some rain is forecast for this area today.

The Canadian Red Cross continues to manage evacuations as part of an agreement with the federal government to provide disaster assistance to Manitoba First Nations.

No open burning is allowed without a permit between April 1 and Nov. 15.  For information on permits and restrictions, Manitobans can contact local Sustainable Development office.  Municipalities often implement their own restrictions, so individuals should also check with local municipal offices for further information.

Anyone planning a backcountry trip is reminded that campfires should only be made in designated fire pits.  However, a better option is to prepare meals on a lightweight portable cook stove.  Campers heading into a remote area should tell someone else where they are going and when they expect to return.

Manitobans are reminded to exercise extreme caution when undertaking any outdoor activities.  In areas where all-terrain vehicle use is authorized, stay on developed trails, stop frequently to check areas around the engine and exhaust for debris, and carefully dispose of any debris found.  Riders should carry a small shovel, axe and fire extinguisher at all times.

Manitobans can report wildfires by contacting local emergency services at 911 or contacting the forest fire tip line at 1-800-782-0076 (toll-free).  More information on wildfire prevention is available at www.gov.mb.ca/wildfire/.