Wind causes multiple grass fires, power outages in Manitoba

WINNIPEG – Fire departments responded to multiple fires and Manitoba Hydro worked to restore power to about 3,500 Winnipeg customers as emergency crews battled wind-related problems in southern Manitoba Wednesday.

Fire departments around Steinbach, Man., fought a six- or seven-acre grass fire just south of the community of Mitchell, Steinbach RCMP Staff Sgt. Harold Laninga said at noon.

WATCH: Fire departments battle grass fires near Steinbach

READ MORE: Wind warning in effect for Red River Valley including Winnipeg

“We’re still at the scene,” he said, explaining he didn’t have many details because his officers were busy at the scene.

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A grass fire near Ryan Street between the railway tracks and Logan Avenue kept fire crews in Winnipeg busy early Wednesday afternoon.

It appeared the fire started in a vacant lot but the industrial area included several nearby businesses, including a lumber yard, a Winnipeg police spokesman said.

The call about the fire came in at 12:26 p.m. and the wildland fire equipment was dispatched, a Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service spokeswoman said. The fire was under control by 2 p.m. and the cause was under investigation.

A fire burns brush near Steinbach, Man., on Wednesday. Wind and dry conditions are sparking fires in multiple areas of southern Manitoba, including Winnipeg. Randall Paull / Global News
A fire crew responds to a bush fire near Steinbach, Man., on Wednesday. Randall Paull / Global News File
Wind blew down a tree on Kimberly Avenue in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Jordan Pearn / Global News
Dry, windy conditions are contributing to fires around Manitoba. Randall Paull / Global News
Wind brought down the fence surrounding a backyard pool on Simpson Avenue in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Jordan Pearn / Global News
Wind blew down this sign in Winnipeg on Wednesday. Tamara Forlanski / Global News
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Winnipeg Police direct traffic at Molson Street and Concordia Avenue after a power outage Wednesday. Tamara Forlanski / Global News
High winds sent garbage bins waiting at the curbs all over the street on Wednesday. Tamara Forlanski / Global News
The high winds in Winnipeg blew this heavy metal fence over on Wednesday. Jordan Pearn / Global News

High winds and dry conditions also sparked fires in the Carman and Elm Creek areas.

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Carman RCMP were responding to grass fires in the rural municipalities of Thompson and Rhineland, a spokeswoman said. She had few details because police were still on their way.

READ MORE: Burning permits cancelled in central, eastern Manitoba

Meanwhile, power was out for about 3,500 customers in the Elmwood area of Winnipeg after wind damaged a 6,600-volt line that supplies electricity to two substations, a Manitoba Hydro spokesman said.

Paul Gervais said he was in a friend’s house on Simpson Avenue in East Kildonan when the lights went out, “then I heard a flash like lightning.”

Two power lines were pulled off their insulators and several Winnipeg Hydro crews were on scene dealing with the problem.

Part of a backyard fence on Simpson Avenue had been ripped away by the wind.

Power was out in the area west of Raleigh Street between Chief Peguis Trail and McLeod Avenue.

Wind was blowing from the south at 45 kilometres per hour gusting to 88 km/h at Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport at 1 p.m.

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