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Five youth arrested for arson; crews battle nearby forest fire in Pauingassi First Nation

Fire burns near Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba.
Fire burns near Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba. Province of Manitoba

Five youths between the ages of 12 and 15 have been arrested by Little Grand Rapids RCMP in connection with two separate arson incidents, forcing nearby forest fire crews to be diverted to help.

RCMP arrested three girls – two 12-year-olds and a 15-year-old – Tuesday after a fire was set near the school in the Pauingassi community.

Police determined the fire was set deliberately and charged all three suspects with arson.

The forest fire was first spotted on Monday and was only 0.1 hectares. It quickly spread to 44 hectares overnight.

Six fire crews along with a helicopter are battling the blaze. Crews fighting the forest fire ended up helping to protect the school.

READ MORE: Arson charges in Little Grand Rapids fire that forced thousands to evacuate

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On May 28, police were called to a second fire behind the band hall office in Little Grand Rapids.

A 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl were arrested and charged with arson after an investigation by RCMP and Manitoba Sustainable Development.

Both incidents are still under investigation.

The community is in no imminent danger, and very little smoke from the forest fire is drifting into the First Nation.

A forest fire burns near Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba.
A forest fire burns near Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba. Province of Manitoba

WATCH: Ways to mitigate the risk of arson

Ways to mitigate the risk of arson
Ways to mitigate the risk of arson