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Manitoba Wildfire Service Continues to Battle Major Fires Near Flin Flon and The Pas

The Manitoba Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), Manitoba Emergency Management Organization (EMO), and the Manitoba Fire Service are currently responding to a number of active fires in the areas around Flin Flon and The Pas. The fires are exhibiting extreme behavior due to drought conditions and high winds.

As of this afternoon, fire WE010 near Flin Flon has grown to approximately 31,600 hectares and continues to impact the cottage subdivisions of Sourdough Bay, Whitefish Lake, Twin Lakes, Schist Lake North, and Cranberry Portage. The fire is approximately 1.5 kilometers away from Cranberry Portage, and the community has now been evacuated to The Pas. Provincial Emergency Social Services is available to residents, with a reception center located at the Wescana Inn in The Pas to register evacuees and arrange for accommodations.

A second reception center has been established at the Victoria Inn in Flin Flon to support evacuees and assist with accommodations for residents affected by evacuation orders from several areas, including Sourdough Bay Subdivision, Twin Lakes Cottage Subdivision, Whitefish Lake Cottage Subdivision, Schist Lake North Cottage Subdivision, Bakers Cottage Subdivision, and Bakers Narrows Provincial Park. Approximately 580 residents have been evacuated at this time, but that number may increase as conditions change.

Smoke from the wildfire is impacting communities in the area, including Flin Flon. Residents are advised to take precautions to protect against harmful smoke inhalation, including limiting outdoor activity, staying indoors with windows and doors closed, setting air conditioning units in homes and vehicles to recirculate to avoid drawing smoke indoors, and drinking plenty of water.

Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 10 from Bakers Narrows to PTH 39 is open between the hours of 8 a.m. until midnight with a police escort. Checkstops for police escorts are set up between Little Spruce Road and Northstar Road on the north side of PTH 10 and at Athapap Road on the south side of PTH 10. PTH 10 will be closed and barricaded outside those hours. The Sherridon access road at the junction of PTH 10 remains closed.

Hydro has been restored to the majority of customers in the impacted area surrounding the fire; however, 25 customers are still experiencing outages in the Sourdough Bay area. Campgrounds in Bakers Narrows and Grass River provincial parks are closed until at least May 27, and backcountry travel along the Grass River from Cranberry Portage to Reed Lake is prohibited.

Air tankers and helicopters with buckets have been working on the fire, with more crews from Ontario expected this weekend to support. Fire WE011 near Wanless north of The Pas is approximately 2,785 hectares and approximately 2.5 km from the community of Wanless. Crews are working to protect the hydro line between The Pas and Cranberry Portage. There has been no damage at this time. The fire is approximately 2 km away from PTH 10. Those traveling on PTH 10 may be impacted by poor visibility due to smoke.

Communications services to Flin Flon, Sherridon, Paradise Lodge, and Sourdough Bay between Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage have been restored following the outage. Provincial burning permits are required for outdoor fires set within the burn permit area from April 1 to Nov. 15 annually. Burn permit holders are reminded to check weather conditions, have adequate suppression equipment, and ensure proper fuel breaks are in place before burning. Never leave an outdoor fire unattended and always extinguish it before leaving and exercise caution when in or near forested areas.

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