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BRUSH FIRE | Extreme danger rating

Manitoba: 42 fires in 3 weeks. Hot, dry weather a problem


Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 9:46 AM - Most of southern Manitoba, and the remainder of the southern Prairies, are under extreme fire danger ratings. According to Natural Resources Canada, the extreme rating signals "fast-spreading, high-intensity crown fire [that is] very difficult to control." In three week's time over 40 fires have been reported in Manitoba with a possible link to rail activity. More on that below. 

EXTREME FIRE DANGER

The recent weather conditions aren't helping to reduce the current extreme fire rating. As of May 7, the province had registered 42 wildfires so far this year, which is actually down from the 74 reported by this time in an average year. Still, the extremely warm temperatures are a challenge for fire crews. 

On Monday, temperatures in southern Manitoba peaked in the mid to high twenties, with the City of Winnipeg experiencing its first 30°C daytime high since September. 

A city often referred as 'Winterpeg', was the first of Canada's major cities to break into this territory for 2018 as temperatures soared to 31°C on Monday. 

WINNIPEG SEES FOURTH DRIEST SPRING IN ALMOST 150 YEARS

The high heat and low humidity these past few days have been a breeding ground for fires across the region. An outdoor fire ban exists for much of the south, including in Winnipeg, which is experiencing the fourth driest spring in almost 150 years. According to Environment Canada, the driest April in the city was in 1980, a year when only trace amounts of rain were observed for the month. 

Temperatures are cooling quickly across the Prairies this week with a 5-10 degree drop expected on Tuesday and another 5-10 degree dip once again on Wednesday. And while some rain is forecast mid week, no significant relief is in store for the very dry eastern regions. 

ROADS RE-OPEN AFTER BRUSH FIRES ALONG WINNIPEG RAIL LINE 

Police officials say roads have re-opened in Winnipeg's Charleswood neighbourhood after brush fires spread along the city's rail line on Sunday. According to the Winnipeg fire department, these fires may have actually been caused by the train.



"We did see a pattern," Tom Wallace, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service's deputy chief of support services told CBC News. "We haven't confirmed that. We do have meetings with CN later this week."

Wallace says conditions around the city are "unprecedented and tinder dry" and sparks from the brakes or train wheels could ignite on dry grass. 

Winnipeg police had closed Wilkes Avenue east of Fairmont Road and diverted traffic on Sterling Lyon Parkway at Shaftesbury Boulevard as crews battled the fire. The Assiniboine forest was also re-opened for pedestrian traffic, police say. 



The fire broke out around 3 p.m. local time on Sunday and threatened a retirement residence in the area. Crews were able to keep it away from the building, although some in the area say they could see smoke from the western edge of the city.

TWO DEAD AFTER "UNUSUAL" BRUSH FIRE FRIDAY

Two men are dead after an 'unusual' brushfire erupted in southern Manitoba on Friday night, a report from CBC News confirms.

The two were found by officials with severe burns behind a busy shopping area in Transcona, a small suburb of Winnipeg, located 10 km east of the downtown core, after reports came in of a fire in the field behind the Petland store on Regent Avenue West at 11:15 pm on Friday. Winnipeg police gave few details, but said the victims were found with significant burns and later succumbed to their injuries. 

Over the weekend, a charred patch was left where the victims were found and only the bottom of the trees were burned, which leaves officials questioning the true nature of their death. 

Extreme fire behaviour is expected through the month of May.

LOOK BACK: FORT MCMURRAY FIRESTORM REVISTED, FIRES FIRST MINUTES CAUGHT ON CAMERA


With files from CBC

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