WINNIPEG - Manitoba is expanding a mandatory evacuation and closure area in Whiteshell Provincial Park in the province's east due to flooding.

Peguis First Nation with surrounded with Fisher River flood water north of Winnipeg, Sunday, May 15, 2022. Manitoba is expanding a mandatory evacuation and closure area in Whiteshell Provincial Park in the province's east due to flooding. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods/POOL

Peguis First Nation with surrounded with Fisher River flood water north of Winnipeg, Sunday, May 15, 2022. Manitoba is expanding a mandatory evacuation and closure area in Whiteshell Provincial Park in the province's east due to flooding. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods/POOL

WINNIPEG - Manitoba is expanding a mandatory evacuation and closure area in Whiteshell Provincial Park in the province's east due to flooding.

The province had already ordered the evacuation of the Betula Lake area of the park on Friday, and says in a news release Sunday night the new order includes Sylvia Lake, Eleanor Lake, Otter Falls, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake.

Even though the new order doesn't take effect until Tuesday at 5 p.m., the release says rising water and rapidly evolving conditions pose a significant safety risk.

The province says water levels on most Whiteshell lakes have nearly equalled or exceeded previous historic records, which it says is due to precipitation that beat all previous records going back to 1951.

It says the evacuation order and expanded closure will apply to all cottage subdivisions, commercial areas, campgrounds, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails and beaches.

Manitoba Parks will close campgrounds at Dorothy Lake, Opapiskaw and Nutimik Lake in the park effective Monday at 3 p.m., and it says the nightly campground at Big Whiteshell Lake south shore is to close at that time, too.

Manitoba Parks is also implementing the immediate closure of all backcountry campsites in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2022.