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Manitoba premier tours fire zone as evacuees await word on their future

Click to play video: 'Manitoba premier visits wildfire frontline'
Manitoba premier visits wildfire frontline
On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew visited frontline responders in Flin Flon to see the magnitude of Manitoba's latest wildfire. – May 14, 2024

Hundreds of people in northwest Manitoba remained out of their homes Tuesday as crews continued to battle an out-of-control wildfire that measured 316 square kilometres.

The fire had not grown in two days, but there was no end in sight to the battle against the blaze and no word on when residents might be able to return home.

“Even during the time that we were in the air, you saw it get that much more serious,” Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said after getting an aerial tour of the area and meeting with people on the ground.

More than 500 people were told to leave Cranberry Portage and the surrounding area on the weekend as winds drove the fire close to the community. Many went to south to The Pas. Others went north to Flin Flon.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba premier visits wildfire frontline'
Manitoba premier visits wildfire frontline

Provincial officials said one end of the fire remained within 1,500 metres of Cranberry Portage on Tuesday.

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A section of the main highway in the region, Highway 10, was reopened but motorists had to go to checkstops and get a police escort to travel through.

The fire crossed a section of railway in the area and shut down rail travel between Cranberry Portage and Pukatawagan to the north.

Air tankers and helicopters have been working on the fire, and additional crews from Ontario had joined the effort.

The fight to extinguish the blaze could take a month, Manitoba’s wildfire director said earlier in the week.

Kinew promised financial support for housing, food and other necessities. Many of the affected people visited reception centres and were put up in hotels or found room with relatives.

“Some folks may be asked to move to Dauphin further south, Brandon, Winnipeg, other locations,” Kinew said.

“Folks are stressed out. It’s been a very trying, difficult experience. We’re going to just try to make it that much easier for folks who’ve been through so much already.”

 

Click to play video: 'Manitoba wildfire update'
Manitoba wildfire update

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