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Winnipeg police use Air1 helicopter to help fire crews

Winnipeg fire crews battle a grass fire near Lagimodiere Boulevard Monday.
Winnipeg fire crews battle a grass fire near Lagimodiere Boulevard Monday. Randall Paull / Global News

It’s one of the driest springs on record in Winnipeg which has helped spark dozens of fires around the southern part of Manitoba.

“We recently had hot, dry, windy conditions which is the ideal recipe for brush and grass fires to occur,” Assistant Chief, Fire/Rescue Operations Ihor Holowczynsky said. “Part of the challenge is responding to these and being prepared.”

While firefighters have been kept busy trying to gain the upper hand, Winnipeg police are doing what they can to assist.

During the first eight days of May, the Winnipeg Police Service helicopter, Air 1, provided aerial assistance.

In one case, the helicopter was used to locate a difficult blaze in the Transcona Bioreserve.

“You can also see how close this fire is the the homes,” Const. Jay Murray said. “I think a lot of people think that Air 1 is only used for apprehending criminals but there is so much more value to this helicopter.”

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The helicopter’s flight crew, thermal imaging sensor and camera were able to assist members of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service with directing fire suppression resources and locating previously unlocated hot spots.

“It’s a great collaboration between our two agencies,” Const. Murray said.

Police said the helicopter was used to help out in at least nine fires including:

  • 100 block of Spence Street
  •  Redonda Street and Paulley Drive
  • 500 block of Spence Street
  • 700 block of Crescent Drive
  • Transcona Bioreserve
  •  Day Street and Gunn Road
  • 2500 block of Day Street
  • Main Street and St. John’s Avenue
  • First 100 block of Whiteshell Avenue