Out-of-control wildfire near Flin Flon continues to burn

The forest fire near Flin Flon continues to burn out of control, with officials estimating over 31,000 hectares actively burning, due to drought conditions and high winds. Mitchell Ringos reports.

The forest fire near Flin Flon continues to burn out-of-control, with officials estimating over 35,000 hectares actively burning, due to drought conditions and high winds.

“We get calls asking why didn’t you stop it, we used water bombers from both Manitoba and Saskatchewan to protect people’s property. Life was the first priority then property and we quite frankly couldn’t put people in the path of that fire at that speed,” explained Earl Simmons, the director of Manitoba Wildfire Service.

“We could be fighting that fire a month from now, so it’s going to be a lot of work to put out that fire.”

According to the province,  the fire was caused by dry lightning, amplified by dry conditions in the area, along with wind, which helped the flames spread quickly, with smoke from the fire seen in Winnipeg on Sunday.

READ MORE: Out-of-control wildfire near Flin Flon has grown 12 times bigger in a day: officials  

The fire led to the evacuation of approximately 550 people from Cranberry Portage with officials saying they will not be heading back any time soon. Even though the fire hasn’t gotten any worse, it’s also not getting any better, calling this blaze something they have never seen before.

“This fire will be burning down deep, some of the staff on scene were telling me that some of the areas with great big trees were toppling over because it burned deep into the roots and the trees fell over,” said Simmons.

Simmons says the fire is still approximately 1.5 kilometers away from Cranberry, with the community evacuated to Pas.

Provincial Emergency Social Services and reception centres were established in the Rural Municipality of Kelsey and at the Victoria Inn in Flin Flon to support evacuees and assist with accommodations for residents affected by evacuation orders.

Earl Simmons, Director of Manitoba Wildfire Service
“We’re working on building an incident management team, to manage that incident, we’re bringing in firefighters from Ontario to assist us today. They’re arriving, so we have a total of 50 firefighters coming in from out of province in the next couple of days,” said Simmons.

There is also a large communication outage impacting Flin Flon, Sherridon, Paradise Lodge, and Sourdough Bay between Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage.

This includes P25, wireless, wireline, data, internet, and internet protocol television.

Manitoba Hydro provided an update saying they’ve completed a helicopter patrol of Cranberry Portage and found extensive damage, that at least now they know what they’re up against and can start repairs, but as of now, there is still no estimated time of restoration.

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