Forest fires rage near Manitoba towns, burning permits cancelled

Provincial authorities have cancelled all burning permits and restricted campfires in a large swathe of northwestern Manitoba as fire crews battle two blazes in dry, windy conditions near the towns of Cormorant and Sherridon.
The Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry says the dry and windy weather has meant fire rangers have been suppression more forest fires across the Northeast. (CBC Archives)

Fire crews battled blazes in dry, windy conditions near the towns of Cormorant and Sherridon in northwestern Manitoba, prompting the province to cancel burning permits and restrict campfires over large stretches of territory.

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship said on Tuesday that all permits had been cancelled in the region north of Flin Flon and Sherridon, south to Grand Rapids, west to the Saskatchewan border and east to provincial highway No. 6. Campfires were banned between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in four provincial parks — Bakers Narrows, Wekusko Falls, Grass River and Clearwater Lake.

The ministry said water bombers had been drafted in to contain a fire covering some 150 hectares near Cormorant, between Clearwater Lake and Cormorant Lake and close to roads and the rail line.

Near Sherridon, located northeast of Flin Flon, a blaze of approximately 500 hectares is raging close to the community, with water bombers in use and on standby as required. Fire damaged the transmission line bringing power to Sherridon, but Manitoba Hydro expects to have power restored on Tuesday.

Throughout the province, six water bombers, 14 helicopters and more than 52 firefighters were taking on forest fires, with bulldozers and other heavy equipment being used to create firebreaks. To date, 114 forest fires have been reported this year and 14 remain active.

No open burning is allowed without a permit between April 1 and Nov. 15.  A number of municipalities have implemented burning bans and more are expected to do so in the coming days.