Hot, dry weather continues to raise forest fire concerns in eastern Manitoba
Published Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:08PM CST
So far in 2011, firefighters have battled 90 forest fires in the eastern part of Manitoba, with 19 still considered active.
Firefighters have, however, managed to contain those 19 fires and stop their spread.
One of the areas affected by recent fires was a location near Bissett where a blaze reached about 400 hectares in size.
At its peak, about 50 firefighters were needed to battle the blaze, which started more than a week ago, and was caused by a lightning strike. Nearby cottages had to be evacuated as the flames spread quickly.
"The rate of spread was probably in excess of 10 to 15 metres a minute," said Chris Atkin from Manitoba Conservation.
While the fire near Bissett appears to be out, a few firefighters remain on the ground to make sure there are no hot spots that could flare up.
With the hot, dry conditions, there is fear there could be many more blazes.
Last week, the province issued a fire ban and travel restrictions for eastern parts of the province to guard against human-caused blazes during the extremely dry conditions.
So far, 11 people have been charged for disobeying the restrictions.
The province said that while most fires are started by lightning, careless human behaviour is responsible for several others.
The risk in eastern Manitoba is considered extreme. While rain is in the forecast, it's not nearly enough so Conservation officials continue to search for smoke from the air because the quicker they can spot a blaze, the more chance they will have to quickly contain it.
- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout