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'Terrifying': Manitoba resident speaks on wildfire and evacuation

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As a pair of wildfires burn near Flin Flon and The Pas, a number of Manitobans are being told to evacuate their homes.

In a news release on Sunday, the Manitoba government confirmed that evacuation orders have been issued for a number of homes and cottages in the area of the fires.

One of the residents who had to evacuate to The Pas is Keith Jaeger, who lives in Cranberry Portage.

Jaeger said he was out with his friends on Saturday night when they noticed some ash falling on them. Once they returned to Cranberry Portage, they were told they had two hours to evacuate, which was shortly cut down to 20 minutes for evacuation.

He said the scene was “terrifying.”

“I don’t think people understand the scale of the flames when you see them in person,” he said in an interview on CTV Morning Live on Monday.

As of now, Jaeger said he is just waiting to hear when it will be safe to return to the community. He noted he hasn’t heard of any property damage in Cranberry Portage, but has heard of some wreckage in nearby communities.

He said his family is staying optimistic.

"Mother’s Day just passed so we’re spending time together, having supper and stuff,” he said.

“We have a lot of family in town so we can kind of bounce between houses and we’re catching up on some visiting.”

Province providing support

Premier Wab Kinew said the province will be there to support Manitobans impacted by the wildfires.

“The government of Manitoba is there with all departments to make sure people have a roof over their head, food, a place to stay, any sort of concerns around home care, medication, health-care services,” he said. “We recognize this is a tough situation where people were forced to leave their homes so quickly.

“Anything that you need, we‘re going to be here and make sure it is provided.”

Kinew said representatives with the departments of health, finance, and families are at evacuation centres to assist people.

The premier also praised other provinces for their help. Crews from Saskatchewan and Ontario have been enlisted to help fight the fires.

“Manitoba was very honoured to be able to help some of our Western neighbours last year, and now that we have this situation this year, we’re able to call on the neighbouring provinces as well,” she said.

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