Manitoba

Evacuations lifted at Marcel Colomb First Nation, Lynn Lake

Residents of a Marcel Colomb First Nation are heading home after leaving their community due to a growing wildfire.

Mandatory evacuation of Marcel Colomb, ordered Saturday, and voluntary evacuation of Lynn Lake both lifted

The smoke from the fire prompted the evacuation of Marcel Colomb First Nation, with residents finding shelter in Lynn Lake. (Province of Manitoba)

Residents of a small northern Manitoba First Nation are heading home after leaving their community due to a growing wildfire.

The Province of Manitoba says the fire burning near Marcel Colomb First Nation, south of Lynn Lake — 814 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg — is being held back by fire crews. 

Recent rains in the area have also helped, said the province.

Marcel Colomb First Nation's leadership decided to evacuate the community Saturday, and a voluntary evacuation was recommended for Lynn Lake residents who suffered from respiratory or other health conditions, pregnant women and young children.

Both evacuations have now been lifted.

"The chief and council are working with the Canadian Red Cross and Indigenous Services Canada to co-ordinate the residents' return to their community," said the province.

Ninety-six people from the First Nation left their homes, said Jason Small of the Red Cross.

"After initially staying in Lynn Lake, the entire group was moved to Thompson, due to the proximity of wildfires, where they have been staying in a hotel since Tuesday," said Small.

"Evacuees are returning home either in their own vehicles or on a bus provided by the Red Cross."

The fire, which was started by lightning last week, has grown to more than 5,200 hectares. While the First Nation was not in any immediate danger due to the fire, the smoke settled over the community. 

"Marcel Colomb is in an area that is a little bit in like a valley," said James Fielder, chief administrative officer of Lynn Lake.

"What was happening was that the smoke from the fire was settling in the valley … a thermal inversion, which means the smoke doesn't dissipate very well, but is held very close to the ground," 

Thursday's overnight lightning storms sparked nine new fires overnight, the province said.

Manitoba has seen 295 fires to date this season, well above the 20-year average of 210.

About the Author

Elisha Dacey

Journalist

Elisha Dacey is a journalist with CBC Manitoba. She is the former managing editor of Metro Winnipeg and her work has been seen in newspapers from coast to coast. Reach her at elisha.dacey@cbc.ca.