Hundreds of cottagers have been evacuated as two fires burning on the Manitoba-Ontario border continue to challenge crews.
The latest – 61 cottages and a lodge are being cleared out at Wallace Lake because of the fire near Beresford. That fire is about 50,000 hectares, but most of it is in Ontario. Officials are closely monitoring conditions at Long Lake.
Further south, the second 2,800 hectare fire sparked the evacuation of the east shore of Caddy Lake this morning.
Gary Friesen, the manager of the province’s fire program, say the winds have not been on our side.
“The wind’s not very favourable for us for the next couple of days and it hasn’t been for the past few days. It’s a south-southeast wind, so that pushes it further into Manitoba,” he said.
Sprinklers are being set up to protect homes and cottages near both fires.
“It wets the whole area down, including the structure. By doing that it also lowers the temperature in there because it’s pumping in cold water and it raises the humidity. So if the fire does come to the area, those structures can receive some very good protection,” he said.
No cottages have been damaged so far.
See the province’s latest fire bulletin here.
Friesen says rain in the forecast for later this week would be very welcome.
It would help wet the ground, bring the temperatures down, change the wind direction and increase the humidity.
“All of those factors are going to be pluses in various degrees depending on what we get,” he said.
Hiking trails are now closed in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Hunt Lake, Mantario and McGillivray Falls until conditions have improved.
Get the latest information on burning bans and travel restrictions here.
Forest fire evacuees on edge near West Hawk Lake
The skies are pink and smoky near West Hawk Lake Monday morning. Evacuees from around Manitoba and Ingolf, Ontario are anxiously awaiting updates on when they can go home.
Many residents affected by forest fires evacuated Thursday night with a few valuables expecting to be gone for about a day but could be here for the week.
“We had two and a half hours notice to get out,” evacuee Lynne McNicholl said. “The first thing you take is medication.”
There is smoke still visible in some areas of Caddy Lake but so far there are no reports of damage to cottages or structures just a lot of water bombing, evacuees say.
“I’ve been at Ingolf for 79 years… we’ve never been evacuated before and I hope it never happens to anyone else again.”
As of Sunday, the fire six kilometres northeast of Caddy Lake on the Manitoba-Ontario border increased to 1,000 hectares. West Hawk Lake, Florence and Nora lakes are all affected areas.
There are also warning signs along Whiteshell roads reminding drivers that open fires are prohibited and fire danger is extreme today.
Top photo courtesy Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; other photos courtesy Global News.