Firefighters from South Africa, Alberta to join Manitoba wildfire fight

Manitoba is getting help from South Africa to battle wildfires across the province.

More than 150 fires continue to burn in tinder-dry conditions

This fire near Katimik Lake, west of Lake Winnipeg and east of Lake Winnipegosis, is one of many crews have battled in recent weeks. (Submitted by Manitoba Government)

Manitoba is getting help from South Africa to battle wildfires across the province.

In an update on Friday, the province's wildfire service said 108 firefighters from the African country are expected to land in Manitoba early next week. They will join crews already on the ground from Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Ontario, as well as crews with Parks Canada, the state of Michigan and the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Eighteen more firefighters from Nova Scotia also landed in Manitoba late this week, while more crews from Parks Canada and Alberta are expected to arrive this weekend.  

The Manitoba Municipal Fire Service, Manitoba Hydro, and the Office of the Fire Commissioner are also helping contain more than 150 fires currently burning throughout Manitoba. 

On Friday, the province said five new fires had been reported in Manitoba in the last 48 hours. 

Six First Nations and three Northern Affairs communities remain under partial or full evacuations due to smoke and loss of electricity, the province said.

The province also ordered the evacuation of the Davidson Lake cottage subdivision, located in Nopiming Provincial Park, on Aug. 2 and have since completed value protection efforts due to a fire in northwest Ontario.

Cottagers and residents have been told to be on alert for the potential evacuation of nearby Booster Lake, Flanders Lake and Bird Lake areas, the province said. 

Kayaker fined

Backcountry travel restrictions remain in place in eastern Manitoba. 

The province said a kayaker faces a fine of just over $3,000 for allegedly ignoring the ban. In an enforcement bulletin, the province said the kayaker on Gem Lake in Nopiming Provincial Park ignored multiple road closure signs and returned to the area after staff from the wildfire service left the Gem Lake staging area. 

The individual became hostile toward the officers and refused to co-operate, the province said.

They were arrested and charged under The Wildfires Act for entering a designated area during a closed period without a travel permit and obstructing an officer. 

The province also said two fires are of particular concern in northern Manitoba right now.

A fire is burning northeast of Tataskweyak Cree Nation along Provincial Road 280. Another is burning southeast of Marcel Colomb First Nation along Provincial Road 391.  


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