The Office of the Fire Commissioner, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, and the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization continue to support municipalities and fire departments with fires in southeast Manitoba.
Hot, dry conditions and high winds are driving grass and brush fires in several areas including fires near the communities of St. Malo, Richer, Milner Ridge and Vita. Non-essential personnel are asked to avoid these areas as conditions are changing quickly.
Municipal and provincial staff are also working with the municipalities of Grahamdale and St. Laurent to address fires.
The community of Vita issued an evacuation order earlier today. Area residents are being directed to a reception centre in Steinbach. The bridge west of the community has burned and there is no access from the west on PR 201.
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship is providing three water bombers to address the fires near Vita and Richer. Two water bombers from Ontario are also providing assistance.
The department is also introducing backcountry travel restrictions in the eastern region effective immediately. This includes the area east of PR 302 to the Ontario border and south of the Trans‑Canada Highway to the U.S. border. Backcountry travel is now allowed by permit only.
Burning permits were cancelled on Sept. 30. No new permits will be issued. All forest, mining and quarry operations will only be allowed to operate by permit. Campfires, including those in provincial parks, will only be allowed from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. in approved fire pits. For information on the travel restrictions, contact the local Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship office or call 1-204-345-1444.
Under these travel restrictions:
backcountry travel, including hiking and all-terrain vehicles, will not be permitted;
canoeing and boating will be restricted to developed shorelines for landing/launching;
camping will only be allowed in developed campgrounds; and
aircraft will only be permitted to use lakes with developed shorelines or docks.
Manitobans with questions or concerns about the effects of smoke can contact their health-care provider or call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).
Cottagers, hikers, residents and other travellers are advised to keep a close eye on local conditions and be prepared to leave quickly if smoke or fire conditions change.
Motorists are advised to check for road closures before heading out. The latest information on road conditions is available any time toll-free at 511, at www.mb511.ca or by following the Twitter account @MBGovRoads.