There have been far fewer forest fires in Manitoba’s northeast district so far this year than in 2018 but they have burned more than twice as many hectares.
Up to July 3 of this year, the northeast district has seen 39 fires, 34 of which have been extinguished. In 2018, there had been 115 fires in the northeast district as of July 4 and 27 were burning on that date. Those fires had only burned 17,694 hectares, however, compared to 43,118 hectares this year.
Twenty-five fires were burning across the province as of 11:58 a.m. July 4.
“Rain showers through parts of the province has provided opportunity for provincial fire crews to make good progress on existing fire,” said Sustainable Development’s July 4 fire update report. “Minimal precipitation is expected over the next few days and additional hold over lightning fires are continuing to occur. Dry conditions remain in the forecast for the remainder of this week and into the weekend for the areas of highest fire activity including the area east of Lake Winnipeg, the Gods Lake and Island Lake regions.Provincial fire crews are focusing their efforts on fires near the communities of Poplar River, Red Sucker Lake, Little Grand Rapids and Gods Lake Narrows. Each of the communities may experience smoke conditions over the next couple of days depending on wind directions. Manitoba Wildfire Program staff are in direct contact with community leadership. Two large fires continue to burn in a remote area between the communities of Poplar River and Island Lake. These fires are not threatening any communities, however, smoke will drift into the communities based on wind direction. Manitoba Wildfire Program staff continue to monitor these fires and is in direct contact with community leadership, lodge and out camp owners.”
The central region, with 61 fires up to July 4, and the eastern region, with 58, have been the two areas with the most fires this year. Last year the central had the third-most (67) by this point and the eastern district the second-most with 85.
The fires between Poplar River and Island Lake, both of which were being watched, have been burning for 19 and 21 days respectively, with one having burned 24,000 hectares and the other 17,500 as of July 3.
There were two out-of-control fires in the northeast region as of July 3 including one that has burned about 1,100 hectares near Red Sucker Lake and another that has burned about 400 hectares near Gods Lake MNarrows.
Sixty-two firefighters, five helicopters, two water bombers and three other aircraft were engaged fighting fires in the northeast as of July 4 and two fires had been extinguished in the region in the previous 24 hours. Twenty-six of the 39 fires in the northeast so far this year have been caused by people with the remaining third caused by lighting.