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Night flares over Lake Winnipeg tonight

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If you see unusual lights over Lake Winnipeg tonight, don’t bother reporting a UFO.

The Canadian air force’s 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron plans to conduct night-flare exercises over the lake from 10:30 p.m. until 1 a.m., 17 Wing Winnipeg warned in a statement.

The exercise, which is part of regular seach-and-rescue training, involves involves dropping illumination flares used by ships and aircraft as positional markers on the water surface. The marine location markers are buoyant and produce both smoke and flame. When dropped into the water, they give off large clouds of dense smoke and burn violently for up to 20 minutes, making them an excellent location marker for day and night, the military says.

The markers are designed to sink to the ocean floor after the’ve been expended. However, some markers do not completely burn off and remain afloat. The air force is warning people not to touch them.

"Periodically, members of the public find a (marker) that has washed ashore. (They) pose a potential hazard to the public that must be taken seriously," the military said in a statement.

Instead, anyone who finds a flare is asked to leave it where it is, note the location and call the RCMP to allow personnel trained to handle unexploded ordinance to retrieve the marker.

The markers are unpainted natural aluminum in colour. They may have a green band on the forward end with "CCC" written in white letters. The MLM is also labelled with clear hazard warnings and instructions to contact police or military. The MLM is 47 centimetres in length, has a diameter of 7.6 centimetres and weighs 1.7 kilograms.

But you’re not supposed to pick one up, so certainly do not weigh it.

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