A fire in Traverse Bay has forced evacuations in the community.

According to a public notice on the RM of Alexander’s website, a fire ban was put in place Friday afternoon around 2 p.m., shortly after a fire broke out in Traverse Bay. An earlier fire in nearby Belair prompted a fire ban in that area, as well.

Area Reeve Jack Brisco tells CTV News the fire was declared under control shortly before 6 p.m., thanks in part to a rainstorm moving through the area.

Brisco said 30 to 40 homes were evacuated, and it appears around five were scorched in the fire. He said it doesn’t appear anyone was injured. 

Water bombers were called in to help fight, as were neighbouring fire departments. 

Brisco said given the weather Friday, without the assistance of all these parties the fire could have been catastrophic. 

All outdoor burning, including the use of fireworks, is banned until further notice. 

The RM of Alexander said fires are at an extremely high risk, and is hoping this ban will help prevent more fires from happening.

The penalty for disobeying the ban is a minimum $500 fine.

The RM of Alexander has set up an emergency centre at the Grand Marais Recreation/Community Centre. It is expected to open at 5:30 p.m. to help those affected by the fire in Traverse Bay. 

Some evacuations were lifted shortly before 7 p.m. Brisco said any updates will be relayed to those waiting at the emergency centre. 

The cause of the fire is being investigated, and the damage will be assessed in the coming days and weeks.

On Monday a provincial spokesperson said affected property owners, in cooperation with the municipality, are responsible for the cleanup.