130 firefighters from three provinces battle Manitoba wildfires, Red Cross evacuates most vulnerable
The Canadian Red Cross says a team was activated to evacuate close to 180 people from the remote communities of Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi. (Photo: The Canadian Red Cross)
Published Monday, July 8, 2019 1:17PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, July 9, 2019 6:26AM CST
The Canadian Red Cross is helping evacuees make their way to Winnipeg from northern Manitoba for a second day because of thick smoke as wildfire continue to burn in a northern region around the Manitoba-Ontario border.
In total, there are 122 evacuees from Little Grand Rapids First Nation and another 60 from Pauingassi First Nation. Most arrived in the city on Sunday. Forty-three are expected to arrive Monday.
Babies, their parents and people with health issues flew south in small planes. They were given food, water and a hotel room.
The Red Cross said, barring any crazy weather, no further trips out of communities because of smoke are expected.
Over the weekend, Environment and Climate Change Canada warned of poor air quality over much of Manitoba.
The warning was lifted for Winnipeg Sunday, but smoke is still lingering over east central and northern communities in Manitoba Monday.
A cold front tracking across the region will bring improved conditions by late Tuesday as northerly winds behind the front move the smoke southward, a special weather statement said.
20 fires in the region
Manitoba Sustainable Development said there are about 20 fires in the region causing the smoke.
There are also two large fires in a remote area between Poplar River and Island Lake, but communities are not threatened.
A provincial spokesperson said one of the fires is 17 kilometres from Little Grand Rapids and two kilometres from the hydro line for the community.
Manitoba Sustainable Development said provincial fire crews were focusing on fires near the communities of Little Grand Rapids and Red Sucker Lake.
It said there are 16 helicopters, six water bombers and 66 emergency fire fighters assisting regular wildfire staff.
Another 64 fire fighters from Saskatchewan and Quebec arrived on Friday and have been deployed to various locations across Manitoba’s eastern region.