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Royal Canadian Air Force assisting evacuation in Little Grand Rapids

The community of Little Grand Rapids have been forced to leave their homes because of a growing wildfire. Theresa Eischen/Facebook

With wildfires spreading across parts of eastern Manitoba, the Royal Canadian Air Force has been brought in to help with evacuations.

On Wednesday night, a CH147 Chinook helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa was sent to ferry 60 people from Little Grand Rapids to Red Lake, Ontario.

From there, a CC130 Hercules was waiting to bring them to Winnipeg.

READ MORE: Growing wildfire forces full evacuation of Little Grand Rapids

David Lavallee, Public Affairs Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, said the two-step evacuation was necessary because the Little Grand Rapids airfield is not big enough to support the larger Hercules aircraft.

He added the Chinook was then scheduled to return to Little Grand Rapids to bring an additional 30 people directly to Winnipeg.

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“The situation is very fluid, things may change,” Lavalee said.

“The plan right now is for those two aircraft to continue supporting tomorrow, possibly joined by a CC130J Hercules out of Trenton, Ontario if needed.”

The Canadian Red Cross said that as of Wednesday night some 370 people had been evacuated from Little Grand Rapids.

READ MORE: Hundreds flee as forest fire rages near Sapotaweyak Cree Nation

Meanwhile, around 720 people had already been evacuated from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and are staying at hotels in Swan River, The Pas and Brandon.

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