Smoke thwarts effort to fight Pukatawagan blaze


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The evacuation of Pukatawagan has been completed just as hot and humid conditions stoke the nearby wildfire.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/07/2022 (257 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The evacuation of Pukatawagan has been completed just as hot and humid conditions stoke the nearby wildfire.

“Due to the vicinity of the wildfire, the community has been evacuated and crews are on the ground to assist with the protection of homes and critical structures,” the Manitoba Wildfire Service said Monday. “Smoke is affecting the ability of water bombers to action the fire, but efforts are continuing.”

Approximately 2,000 members of the Mathias Colomb First Nation in northwestern Manitoba were flown out or took the train to southern communities last week as the wildfire came within a kilometre of the community.

As of Monday, there were 45 fires across the province, with the wildfire danger level listed as moderate to high. Ten had started in the past 24 hours.

While the southern half of the province has received much-needed rain, the northwest corner continues to have new fire starts and heavy smoke, complicating efforts to put out the flames.

Manitoba Wildfire Service said smoke conditions will affect northwestern communities in Manitoba, but no restrictions have been put in place.

West of Burntwood Lake, three fires have combined into one, but don’t pose immediate danger to communities. A fire about 40 kilometres south of The Pas is currently being held. Another fire eight kilometres northeast of Pukatawagan is near a hydro line and rail tracks, but the province said it is not yet considered an immediate threat.

A fire 15 kilometres southeast of South Indian Lake is being monitored and value protection equipment is on standby if it worsens.

Wildfire updates and restrictions can be found on the government website and on Twitter. To report a wildfire, call 911 or 1-800-782-0076.

Malak Abas

Malak Abas

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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