News Releases

Media Bulletin - Manitoba

May 16, 2012

FIRE UPDATE #3



Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization and rural municipalities continue to respond to wildfires in southeastern Manitoba.

Shifting winds and low humidity will continue to challenge firefighting efforts.  Weather changes could result in moderate to heavy smoke in some areas.

While cooler temperatures are predicted for today, high temperatures are forecast for later in the week with little or no precipitation forecast until Friday.

Anyone living, working, camping or travelling in these areas is advised to use extreme caution and to avoid starting any fires.

Badger Fire

  • The fire near the community of Badger remains approximately 53 square kilometres in size.  At this time, all firefighting efforts to protect the community have been successful.  Provincial and municipal officials continue to focus efforts to maintain the strength of the fire lines to protect the community.
  • Municipal fire crews continue to be supported by more than 80 forest firefighters from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship along with 14 bulldozers to cut fire lines.  Substantial air resources are also in place including four water bombers, four single‑engine air tankers and five helicopters.
  • Two additional water bombers from Quebec arrived yesterday along with 40 firefighters from British Columbia to assist the firefighting efforts.  A DC-4 aircraft that sprays fire retardant will be arriving today from the Northwest Territories.
  • The Rural Municipality (RM) of Piney ordered the evacuation of the community of Badger on Sunday.  Sixteen individuals were allowed to return briefly yesterday for personal items, but remain evacuated until further notice.  The RM has also declared a state of local emergency to help manage the wildfire situation in the area.  Travel is restricted to municipal and provincial roads. 

Vita Fire

  • Municipal fire crews from eastern Manitoba continue to work on a large fire of approximately 41 sq. km located in the RM of Stuartburn.  This fire is located south of PTH 201.
  • The Office of the Fire Commissioner willassist municipalities in the area if requested or required.

Marchand Fire

  • Work continues to put out a fire south of Marchand, which remains approximately 11 sq. km in size.
  • No structures are threatened at this time.

No official causes of these fires have been determined at this time, but investigators continue to look into possible causes.

Travel Restrictions

  • Travel restrictions continue in areas of eastern Manitoba.  All burning permits already issued have been cancelled.  New burning permits will not 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 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in approved fire pits only. 
  • For information on the travel restrictions, contact the local Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship office or call 1-204-345-1444.  A list of local conservation offices is available at  www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/about/who.html.  

Health Information

  • Smoke levels from fires may vary considerably due to fire conditions and wind direction.  Exposure to smoke can cause sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.  
  • People who are at higher risk, such as young children, the elderly and people with heart or lung conditions (particularly asthma), should consider taking precautions if conditions are hazy with a smoke odour, if visibility is less than eight kilometres or if they are having symptoms.  Others may wish avoid strenuous activity in these conditions.  If smoke is thicker, everyone may wish to consider precautions.
  • Manitobans are encouraged to:
  • use common sense about outdoor physical activity; if breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity;
  • reduce exposure to smoke by staying indoors or moving to areas with cleaner air, as conditions can vary dramatically by area;
  • turn off furnaces and air-conditioning units that may draw smoke indoors;
  • keep indoor air cleaner by avoiding smoking or burning other materials; and
  • use a commercially-available, high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) filter to further improve indoor air quality near the filter. 
  • Manitobans with health questions or concerns can contact their health-care provider or call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).  More information on the health effects of smoke is available at:  www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/smoke.html.

More information on fire prevention and current fire updates is available at www.manitoba.ca/wildfire. The most up-to-date highway information can be found at www.mb511.ca or 1-877-MBRoads (1‑877‑627-6237).  On Twitter, the latest news can be found @MBGov and road closures @MBGovRoads.

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