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This article was published 27/6/2010 (3561 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
REINFORCED fire crews are holding an enormous forest fire at bay 13 kilometres from Cranberry Portage while nervously watching forecasts of windy weather.
"We were fortunate (Saturday) night to get some spotty rain on the fire," said Duane Feely, aviation and field safety supervisor with Manitoba Conservation's fire program.
"It's still 13 kilometres east of Cranberry Portage. It hasn't grown any closer."
But Feely noted the forecast is for higher winds and humidity early in the week, and "in the fire business, that's not good news."
By Sunday, the fire had grown to 53,500 hectares and will be even larger today, he said. Though Manitoba has had bigger fires, Feely said, "it's close to communities, provincial parks, the breadbasket of the logging industry."
The province has given people who voluntarily left Cranberry Portage a green light to return, but told them to keep their bags packed.
Most left because of health issues, Feely said,. but "there are no smoke issues right now. The evacuation alert is still in effect."
He said fire crews have been laying down fire breaks, but "the concern would be that there's a considerable amount of forested area" in the path of the fire, between the flames and between Cranberry Portage and Baker's Narrows, a cottage community where Flin Flon's airport is located. Feeny said seven other fires around the province have all been contained.
The crews in Cranberry Portage were reinforced Sunday by 31 firefighters from B.C., 22 from Minnesota and 15 from Ontario who had sprinkler kits to wet down cottages.
"We are expecting 21 to arrive from Wisconsin (today), Thursday 21 firefighters from Minnesota," he said.
Two more water bombers are coming from B.C., bringing the total to a dozen fighting the fire.
— Nick Martin