Crews battle wildfires in northern Manitoba, 500 residents displaced
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 10:48 -
Nearly 500 Manitobans were forced to leave their homes as a large fire spread through Ilford and War Lake First Nations more than a week ago.
22 fire-attack crew members, 90 emergency firefighters, four water bombers and five helicopters have been fighting the flames in the communities northeast of Thompson.
"These fires have put nearly 500 Manitobans out of their homes and left hundreds more on alert. We have seen they can move quickly and pose a huge threat to communities in their path," said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, who met with community leaders and fire attack crews Tuesday afternoon. "I am glad our firefighters have moved quickly to protect at-risk people and property, and our modernized water-bomber fleet is giving them the support they need to battle these fires."
Currently, the fire near Ilford covers more than 45,000 hectares, while a fire near Keeyask is burning more than 18,000 hectares.
A fourth new Bombardier CL-415 turboprop water bomber is being used to help battle the blazes.
"These are the world's newest and best water bombers. They can carry more water and do almost twice as many drops per hour as the last generation of planes," Ashton said Tuesday. "Since 1999, we've also added 15 new initial-attack crew members for a total of 175 specially trained firefighters who keep our communities safe."
Selinger says although it's been very wet in the south of the province, it's extremely dry in the north.
So far there have been 160 wildfires in Manitoba this year, with 39 of them started by lightning.