Manitoba

Winnipeg firefighters tackle 5 more brush fires

Another day, and another batch of grass and brush fires has kept firefighters in Winnipeg busy.

No injuries or evacuations reported as city crews tackle series of grass, brush fires

Firefighters responded to five grass fires in Winnipeg on Tuesday, as the city continued to grapple with dry conditions. (CBC)

City crews have been called to battle another batch of grass and brush fires in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responded to five such fires on Tuesday, as the city continued to grapple with dry conditions. Strong winds are expected to make matters worse today.

In each of the fires, no structural damage, injuries or evacuations were reported.

The first blaze sprang up Tuesday morning in River Heights, along the area of Waverley Street and Taylor Avenue at 7:54 a.m.

After a reprieve, firefighters were kept busy in the evening with four separate incidences in a six-hour period. They were called to action in Charleswood after a tree caught fire along Huddersfield Place shortly before 6 p.m. In under an hour, crews were off to a nearby grass fire around Laxdal Road and Grant Avenue. 

By 9:45 p.m., a grass fire in the ditch of the city's northern end, along the 1300 block of Balgona Road, was reported.

Fire crews were called after 11 p.m. to a blaze in the area of Provencher Boulevard and Nadeau Street.

The five fires remain under investigation.

Cavalia big top 'very aware' of risk

Over by Sterling Lyon Parkway, the travelling Cavalia horse and acrobatics show Odysseo is preparing to open its huge tent to the public this weekend. Tour director Robert Morgan is watching the weather closely, as their tent is surrounded by dry grass.

"Since I've been here, this is unusual weather for you. Usually there's a lot more rain. We were expecting some rain last weekend and we didn't get that. We're very aware of it.... We monitor the situation at all times."

Morgan says staff practise mock evacuations and he stays in close contact with emergency services. The tent is also surrounded by a fire lane for safety reasons. 

"We've been in situations where there's tornadoes and fires and weather-related issues... This tent can withstand [a] huge amount of wind, rain and everything else, plus it's completely fire retardant," he said. 

The City of Winnipeg reminds residents that open fires are prohibited until further notice due to the conditions. The strong winds forecast today will increase the risk of wildland fires, as wind can carry embers to different locations.

"We would like to remind residents that the temporary open-air fire ban is still in effect, and urge residents not to start open-air fires unless using an outdoor natural gas appliance such as a barbecue," said Tom Wallace, deputy chief with Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Thus far, city firefighters have responded to 55 grass/brush fires this year. They were called to a total of 85 fires in 2017.

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