High risk of wildfire in southern Manitoba leads to restrictions on travel, fires

The Manitoba Wildfire Service is putting a number of restrictions in place across southern and eastern Manitoba due to a high risk of wildfire, a provincial news release says.

The western edge of the area included in these restrictions starts on Provincial Road 302 — which runs north from around Vita to Beausejour — and continues north on Provincial Trunk Highway 12, west on Provincial Road 317 to Libau, north on Provincial Trunk Highway 59 and northwest on Provincial Road 319, which runs toward Lake Winnipeg around Patricia Beach.

The area is bounded by the U.S. border at the south, by Lake Winnipeg and the Winnipeg River to the north and the Ontario border to the east. It also includes the Mars Hill Wildlife Management Area. 

That means people living in or visiting those areas must only camp in developed campgrounds and only have campfires between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

In addition, motorized backcountry travel — including ATVs and other off-road vehicles — is prohibited unless the drivers have a travel permit. Landing and launching of boats is restricted to developed shorelines.

Similar restrictions are also in place for the Turtle Mountain and Spruce Woods provincial parks, Spruce Woods provincial forest and the surrounding Crown land. Also affected are Moose Lake, Birch Point, Marchand, Woodridge, Whiteshell, Whitemouth Falls, William Lake and Criddle/Vane Homestead provincial parks.

In addition, provincial burn permits will be restricted to only essential agricultural, municipal or industrial operations to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Burning in these areas will require the approval of an Manitoba Conservation and Climate officer, and include a site inspection with strict conditions, the province says.

These restrictions come after approximately 20 homes from North Cypress-Langford were evacuated Thursday afternoon, when a brush fire broke out at Camp Hughes, an old military base nearby, police said.

No injuries were reported, RCMP said at the time.

WATCH | Crews scramble to contain Camp Hughes fire: 

Firefighters work to put out a brush fire that forced the evacuation of some homes near Camp Hughes, west of Carberry, Man., Thursday evening (Video courtesy Liam Pattison). 1:07

The province says many municipalities — like the Town of Carberry and the Municipality of North Cypress-Langford — have already implemented burning restrictions, so people are asked to also check with local municipal offices for more information or view the Current Municipal Burning Restrictions online.

Wildfires can be reported by calling 911 or the dedicated fire tip line toll free at 1-800-782-0076.

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