Wildfire forces more Manitoba First Nations to begin evacuation in Interlaken area
The burning of the Interlaken area of ??Manitoba forced four other indigenous people to evacuate, sending vulnerable community members to hotels in Winnipeg and Dauphine.
Jason Small, spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross, said: “At present, people are mainly concerned about health…the elderly and young children.” The federal government calls on the Canadian Red Cross to support these communities.
The first nations that have recently started to move people out of the area are Little Saskatchewan, Pinaymootang, Skownan and Dauphin Rivers.
Evacuate to Winnipeg in Dove
Small said most community members in the community will stay in Winnipeg hotels, with the exception of the Scernans who go to Dove.
Lake St. Martin’s First Nations Lake announced Wednesday night that it will send the elderly, infants and people with chronic diseases to Winnipeg.
The evacuation involved evacuating approximately 750 people from the area.
The evacuated included Kim Letande, a First Nations resident of Lake Saint Martin. She left the community at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday due to heavy smoke and arrived in Winnipeg at 2 a.m. on Thursday.
Landerander suffers from asthma and finds it is difficult to breathe even indoors due to the smoke. She said that there was so much ashes, it looked like it was snowing. She said that on the way to Winnipeg, her eyes shed tears from the smoke.
She said: “I’m scared. My son and I are scared to drive because we don’t know what will happen.”
Letander said she must fight to stay awake and be alert to animals that might escape on the road.
She has not heard when the evacuees will be able to return to their homes, but she said that she hopes they can return to their homes as soon as possible.
Earlier this week, the Misipawistik Cree Nation near Grand Rapids in Manchester sent members of about 80 families to Grand Rapids and Thompson after two houses were destroyed by a fire.
Small doesn’t know how long people may have to stay in hotels to return home safely.
He said: “Now, we will start getting everyone to register and make sure they get everything they need.”
Issue an air quality warning
The largest fire in the area occurred near Homebrook, a community north of Lake Manitoba, about 240 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg.
The provincial government said on Wednesday afternoon that the fire was 144,000 hectares, more than 80 kilometers long, and about 16 kilometers wide at its widest point.
The province’s wildfire department has issued air quality warnings to central and southern Manitoba, and several highways have been closed due to smog.
CBC Manitoba meteorologist John Sauder predicts that there will be sporadic showers across the province on Thursday and Friday, although it is difficult to predict how much precipitation will actually occur and where it will rain.