Skip to content

The Pas Wild Fire Report

The Manitoba Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), Manitoba Emergency Management Organization (EMO), and the Manitoba Fire Service are working diligently and collaboratively to effectively combat and manage the ongoing challeng
TOPSHOT - A photo shows a forest fire in Louchats, south-western France, on July 17, 2022. (Photo by THIBAUD MORITZ / AFP) (Photo by THIBAUD MORITZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The Manitoba Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), Manitoba Emergency Management Organization (EMO), and the Manitoba Fire Service are working diligently and collaboratively to effectively combat and manage the ongoing challenges posed by two active fires in the Flin Flon and The Pas area.


As of 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, residents of Cranberry Portage, Sourdough Bay, Whitefish Lake, Twin Lakes, and Schist Lake North have been granted permission to safely return to the comfort of their homes, marking a significant and reassuring development for the affected communities.


In an encouraging turn of events, the barricades that previously restricted access have been successfully removed, signaling the reopening of Provincial Trunk Highway (PTH) 10 and the Sherridon access road to traffic, thereby restoring normalcy and facilitating seamless movement in the area.


In the vicinity of Flin Flon, the wildfire, identified as fire WE010, spans an extensive area of approximately 37,000 hectares, prompting dedicated and concerted efforts to maintain effective control and containment of the situation.


The impact of the devastating fire in Sourdough Bay has resulted in the unfortunate loss of eight properties, comprising one permanent residence, five seasonal properties (cottages), and two garages, while a single permanent residence in Twin Lakes has also been tragically affected.


The collaborative firefighting efforts have been bolstered by a substantial deployment of resources, including six water bombers, seven helicopters, over 200 provincial personnel, 40 firefighters from Ontario, five from Parks Canada, 20 from New Brunswick, and 21 from Quebec, all of whom are unwaveringly committed to the containment and suppression of fire WE010.


In a positive development for the affected regions, train service between Cranberry Portage and Pukatawagan has been successfully reinstated, effectively reinstating vital connectivity and transportation links for the local residents.


The Provincial Emergency Social Services reception centers at the Wescana Inn in The Pas and the Victoria Inn in Flin Flon have been officially closed, signifying a gradual return to normalcy and the resumption of regular community activities.


In a heartening show of support, a supplemental evacuation allowance of $200 is set to be issued to residents whose primary residences are situated in Cranberry Portage, Sourdough Bay, Whitefish Lake, Twin Lakes, and Schist Lake North, offering a much-needed and appreciable measure of assistance during these challenging times.


The pervasive impact of smoke from the wildfire continues to pose challenges and implications for the affected communities, necessitating ongoing vigilance and preparedness in addressing the associated concerns and health considerations.


Curtis Azevedo, a seasoned disaster specialist with an impressive 11 years of experience in dealing with wildfires, has emerged as a valuable source of insights and guidance, offering indispensable tips and strategies aimed at protecting homes and properties from the encroaching threat of fires.


Azevedo underscores the critical importance of maintaining adequate buffer space between homes and surrounding brush, as well as the regular trimming of trees and bushes, in addition to keeping yards clean and having a well-defined evacuation plan in place, all of which are invaluable measures for proactive preparedness.


Moreover, Azevedo highlights the potentially prolonged duration and extensive reach of fires, cautioning that they can persist through the winter and cover vast distances, challenging the conventional understanding of wildfire season and mandating a sustained and comprehensive approach to management and mitigation.


“3% of wild Fires in North America constitute 97% of the land area burned, so there are a number of fires we are able to control, but a very small number of them could contribute to most of the loss in Canada” Azevedo continued, as he reports that there are currently four active fires in Saskatchewan and three in Manitoba


Azevedo’s extensive and varied experience, spanning back to as early as June 2013, has seen him lend expertise to nine different catastrophic events across the country, including the Fort McMurray Fire in May 2016, thereby cementing him as a trusted and authoritative voice in the field of disaster management and wildfire containment.


In a sobering assessment of the current scenario, Azevedo warns that the term "held" concerning a fire does not necessarily signify full control, underscoring the persistent threat of its potential spread, particularly in the case of the ongoing fires, with the one in The Pas emerging as the most prominent and concerning.


“Anytime a fire is considered being held, it’s an indication that it’s still not in control which means it could spread so out of all the fires currently the one in The Pas seems to be most prominent” Stated Azevedo.


In a separate but equally pressing development, fire WE011 near Wanless, located north of The Pas, spans an area of approximately 2,785 hectares, and is situated approximately 2.5 km from the community of Wanless, necessitating a concerted and targeted response to effectively contain and suppress its impact.


Efforts are currently underway to safeguard the critical hydro line between The Pas and Cranberry Portage, alongside proactive measures to contain the fire, which is approximately 2 km away from PTH 10, necessitating heightened vigilance and preparedness for any potential implications on transportation and infrastructure.


Travelers and residents alike are advised to exercise caution and remain informed, particularly on Provincial Trunk Highway 10, where poor visibility due to smoke from the fires could pose challenges and necessitate heightened attention for safe and secure travel.


The closure of campgrounds in Bakers Narrows and Grass River provincial parks, including Bakers Narrows, Gyles, Iskwasum Landing, and Reed Lake, has been extended until at least May 27, reflecting the ongoing and evolving nature of the situation and the need for sustained caution and preparedness.


Lastly, to further ensure the safety and well-being of the local communities, backcountry travel along the Grass River from Cranberry Portage to Reed Lake remains prohibited, underscoring the need for a comprehensive and proactive approach to safeguarding the region and the individuals within it.


As the collaborative efforts of the Manitoba Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and other organizations continue, the gradual restoration of normalcy in the affected communities is a reassuring development. The dedicated firefighting personnel and the reopening of vital transportation links are significant steps forward. Despite the challenges posed by the wildfires, the resilience and support demonstrated by the community, along with the ongoing expert guidance, offer hope for the eventual containment and resolution of the situation.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks