July 7, 2019 3:28 pm

Manitoba Red Cross evacuating residents from 2 First Nations due to wildfire smoke

Red Cross workers in Manitoba are evacuating "Priority 1" residents from Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations due to smoke from wildfires in the area.

Red Cross Manitoba

The Canadian Red Cross is assisting in the evacuation of residents from Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations due to wildfire smoke in the communities.

In a statement, the Red Cross says it will be evacuating “Priority 1” residents, which include the elderly, babies and those with chronic respiratory problems.

READ MORE: Experts forecast wildfire danger increasing in parts of Western Canada

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A maximum of 150 residents from Little Grand Rapids should be completely evacuated by the end of Sunday, while up to 50 residents will be evacuated from Pauingassi First Nation, the agency says.

Evacuated residents are being sent to Winnipeg and will be provided shelter in hotels.

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for a portion of southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, due to smoky conditions caused by forest fires.

READ MORE: Smoke from forest fires causing poor air quality in southeastern Manitoba

People may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches and shortness of breath, the weather agency says.

According to Environment Canada, air quality is expected to improve on Sunday as winds are expected to push the smoke back towards the north.

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