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Canstar Community News
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This article was published 17/5/2012 (3004 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Shifting winds and a weeklong spell of dry, hot weather are hampering efforts to put out three wildfires in the forests of southeastern Manitoba, the province said Thursday.
Updates from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship have been issued daily since fires broke out over the weekend.
Manitoba imposed a travel ban on recreational activity in the area, even as the province prepares to celebrate Victoria Day, the first long-weekend holiday of the summer.
Travel is limited to provincial and municipal routes, and officials with the province are turning back people on backcountry trails.
Of the three fires, the biggest one is still the one near the tiny community of Badger, which was quickly evacuated early Monday. It covers 53 square kilometres, the same as the day before. Crews are holding the line on that fire with an army of equipment, but they haven't managed to tame it yet. Badger is 130 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg. Municipal crews are monitoring fire lines that protect the town.
Like the Badger fire, a second wildfire, near Marchand, 83 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, still covers 11 square kilometres.
A third fire, near the town of Vita, continues to test municipal crews from the Rural Municipality of Stuartburn. It still covers 41 square kilometres, as it did Wednesday.
The province has 80 firefighters battling the two Sandilands wildfires, along with 40 firefighters from British Columbia.
The army of equipment deployed every day from a Conservation command centre at Marchand includes 14 bulldozers, four water bombers, four single-engine air tankers and five helicopters.
The province called in help from outside Manitoba to fight the fires. Two additional water bombers from Quebec arrived earlier this week, and a DC-4 aircraft that sprays fire retardant from the Northwest Territories arrived in the province Wednesday.
The province repeated warnings about the health effects of smoke. Manitobans with health concerns can call their doctor or Health Links at 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.
For more information on the fires, click on www.gov.mb.ca/wildfire . Highway information can be found at www.mb511.ca or 1-877-MBRoads.
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