Firefighters battle blazes across the province


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Sixty people have been forced from their homes in the RM of Stuartburn, and others in eastern Manitoba are on evacuation alert, as high winds fuel forest fires across the province.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/10/2011 (4194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Sixty people have been forced from their homes in the RM of Stuartburn, and others in eastern Manitoba are on evacuation alert, as high winds fuel forest fires across the province.

Hot, dry conditions and high winds are driving grass and brush fires.

Meanwhile, cottagers, residents, hikers and travellers in eastern Manitoba are being warned to keep a close eye on local conditions.

“Be prepared to leave quickly if smoke or fire conditions change,” a government bulletin advises.

In the southeastern farming belt, crews of 75 firefighters from 10 volunteer fire departments battled three serious fires throughout the day in the RM of Stuartburn. So far, they’ve saved all the properties under threat.

Manitoba Conservation dispatched four waterbombers to deal with the Stuartburn fire as wind and weather allow.

The area just east of Tolstoi is also a tall grass prairie reserve and critical wildlife habitat.

Earlier Friday, RCMP closed Hwy. 201 west of Stuartburn.

Const. Sylvain Roy, who was preventing vehicles from entering the area, said up to 30 homes and a large dairy farm were evacuated. He said officials focused firefighting efforts on the community of Caliento to the northeast, another hotspot.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner is co-ordinating the firefighting efforts of the many municipal departments attacking the blazes. The cause of the fires is not yet known, RCMP Const. Roy said.

Evacuees are staying with friends and family. The RM has set up a reception centre in nearby Vita.

Firefighters from B.C., Sask. fight Riding Mountain blaze

Meanwhile, dozens of firefighters are fighting a fire in Riding Mountain National Park that started off as a controlled burn before high winds and hot dry weather turned it into wildfire, the park said Friday.

The Riding Mountain fire was twice as big Friday night as it was earlier in the day — up to 2,000 hectares — a park bulletin advised. That’s a fraction of the size of the park, which is 300,00 hectares.

A smoke advisory was put in effect for residents in Ste. Rose and McCreary Friday evening. They can expect moderate levels of smoke to settle overnight.

Firefighters from Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park were expected to arrive late Friday to join crews from Prince Albert National Park and Riding Mountain, bringing the total number to 40 at work to contain it. At least one more fire crew is headed to Manitoba from another national park. They’re due Saturday.

Landowners on the west side of the park remain on evacuation alert, but fire crews successfully set up a fire break earlier today and it is holding, park spokeswoman Cate Watrous said. The evacuation alert in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam was put in place Thursday night.

The fire is located around the Muskrat Creek area and it is now 12 kilometres long from south to north.

Park officials have closed all trails and roads east of Highway 10. Areas now closed include South Escarpment Trails, Kinosao Trail, Cowan Lake Trail, Brule Trail, Muskrat Lake Trail, Grey Owl Trail, Arrowhead Trail, Lake Katherine Road, Highway 19, Rolling River Road and all trails north of Highway 19 and Highway 10.

A fire ban is in place in throughout the park.

Bissett fire 40 km long

On the east side of Lake Winnipeg in the mining town of Bissett, eight Ontario firefighters arrived today and another 21 from British Columbia are due Saturday.

There, the fire has grown to 18,000 hectares. It is approximately 40 kilometres long and six km wide. Winds are hampering firefighting efforts, but 50 firefighters and support staff are at work on the fire at Long Lake, near Bissett.

In the Interlake, firefighters are still battling to contain a 1,500-hectare fire at Peguis First Nation.

On a more hopeful front, a fire in Lac du Bonnet is being successfully held and a small fire near Bird Lake in Nopiming Provincial Park is not posing a threat at this time, the bulletin said.


Updated on Friday, October 7, 2011 3:56 PM CDT: Updates with conditions in Stuatburn, arrival of firefighters from out of province, and on other fires in Manitoba

Updated on Friday, October 7, 2011 4:46 PM CDT: Adds information on Riding Mountain fire.

Updated on Friday, October 7, 2011 7:56 PM CDT: Updates status of fire at Riding Mountain.

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