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Smoke from forest fire sends hundreds more from Split Lake homes

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Rain has dampened a northern Manitoba forest fire but there was a significant spike in evacuees sent south as precaution due to heavy smoke by Friday.

There are now a total of 650 evacuees from Tataskweyak Cree Nation who’ve been moved out of their homes.

The fire had burned approximately 16,000 hectares of forest and had moved to within eight kilometres of the First Nation at Split Lake Friday.

The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters confirmed it was working with the federal Aboriginal Affairs department to co-ordinate the evacuations.

On Thursday, there were a total of 176 people who’d been flown out of the remote community, with 109 sent to hotels in Winnipeg.

By Friday, there were 565 evacuees in Winnipeg and another 85 in Thompson, according to figures supplied to the province.

The evacuees were people with respiratory ailments, or elderly or pregnant women.

Split Lake is home to community of 2,400 people, 772 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Manitoba Conservation water bombers and helicopters worked on the fire Friday. Rain and rich levels of humidity meant crews and aircraft had welcome help from Mother Nature to battle the blaze.

History

Updated on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 7:55 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

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