Wallace Lake cottager frustrated with 'limited' Manitoba wildfire updates
Kristen Marsh says her family is worried about possibly having to rebuild cabin
While fire crews continue to battle wildfires on the Manitoba-Ontario border, a cottager near Wallace Lake says questions remain about the status of her family's cabin and what's being done to protect it.
Kristen Marsh, whose father-in-law's cabin is one of 61 properties near Wallace Lake that are under an evacuation order, says her family is struggling for updates on the fire at nearby Beresford Lake.
"We're so desperate for information … anywhere we can get information," she told CBC News on Thursday.
The Wallace Lake cabins are within one kilometre of a 73,000-hectare wildfire burning at Beresford Lake. Temporary sprinklers are in place to protect those buildings, according to provincial fire officials.
"I've been on Twitter and everything, trying to find out from anybody any type of information because it seems like our information was somewhat limited," she said.
"Even though it was limited, it's not as if we weren't getting information. There just wasn't a lot to give us."
As an example, Marsh said she heard that sprinklers had been set up around cottages and homes, but it was not immediately clear if those sprinklers were protecting Wallace Lake properties or if they were set up near Beresford Lake only.
"I understand they can't always tell us everything we want to hear, but that was challenging for us," she said.
Cabin destroyed in 1987
The size of the Beresford Lake fire remained unchanged from Wednesday to Thursday. A 5,800-hectare wildfire northeast of Caddy Lake also did not grow.
- Wildfire in Caddy Lake area burns cabin, small train station
- Winnitoba train station near Caddy Lake destroyed in forest fire
- 'Volatile' forest fires along Manitoba-Ontario border force more evacuations
Marsh said her father-in-law is "sick with worry" over the cottage, which he rebuilt following a wildfire in 1987.
"It's very difficult for them because they've been through the fire in '87; they lost the cabin. Now granted, it was one of the old-style cabins but it was still … [the] cabin, it was memories. So that year, they had to decide whether they were going to rebuild," she said.
"We've had a couple of close calls over the years and we just don't know if he would rebuild again."
Marsh said the family has enjoyed the cabin for almost 30 years, and she's sad she could not retrieve some personal items from the cottage before the area was evacuated.
The Manitoba government has said it's working on improving communications with affected home and cottage owners.
Marsh said she hopes to learn more about the fire situation at an information meeting hosted by the Manitoba and Ontario governments at the Whiteshell Community Hall in Falcon Lake on Thursday evening.