Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Forest fire forces 785 to flee northern reserve

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EVACUATIONS climbed again this weekend in northern Manitoba, where provincial conservation crews are fighting a forest fire that is bearing down on a remote First Nation.

In total, 785 residents have been evacuated from Tataskweyak Cree Nation, a number that has risen by about 140 since Friday, a Manitoba Conservation spokesman confirmed Sunday.

Tataskweyak First Nation is on the shore of Split Lake, about 145 kilometres northeast of Thompson.

Most of the evacuees are staying in Winnipeg -- 653 are in the city and another 132 are in Thompson.

The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters and federal regional staff of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada co-ordinated the evacuations, a precautionary measure because of heavy smoke in the area. The elderly, people with lung conditions and breathing problems and pregnant women have been flown out.

Most residents remained behind in the community of Split Lake, the townsite of Tataskweyak Cree Nation.

Manitoba Conservation continues to battle the forest fire. By Friday, the blaze had consumed 16,000 hectares and advanced to within eight kilometres of the community.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2013 A10

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