Smell of Smoke in the Air

     Yesterday morning we awoke to the smell of smoke in the air.  After 3 days of rain and a couple of inches of rain I didn’t think there could be a forest fire anywhere near.  It turns out I was right.  The forest fire is way up north in Manitoba but the smoke made it’s way down here and was very strong.  Guess that’s what happens when the wind blows from the right direction. 

     Thankfully the fire isn’t close to where the Voyageur Hudson Bay Expedition Crew is either.  They are making lots of progress so be sure to check out the blog and see where they are at and where they have been on Lake Winnipeg.


Paddling Through the Night for Almost 24 Hours Straight

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WINNIPEG – A massive forest fire in northern Manitoba has grown by about 5,000 hectares, prompting further health concerns about smoke and sparking an evacuation of a campground at Bakers Narrows Provincial Park.

While campers have been ushered out of the park, Manitoba Conservation has maintained an evacuation warning for the town of Cranberry Portage — an area that an estimated 400 people have left voluntarily.

"It’s so dry up north that conditions are ripe for the fire to burn," Duane Feely, the Conservation Department’s fire program supervisor of aviation and field services, told the Winnipeg Sun of the forest blaze burning since June 15 after it was sparked by lightning.

On Friday, the fire — possibly the largest ever in Manitoba — had expanded to 45,000 hectares, up from 40,000 about a day earlier.

The blaze was about 13 kilometres east of Cranberry Portage, about an hour’s drive from Flin Flon, and had led to travel restrictions over a wide area reaching toward The Pas and Thompson.

The fire had crept to within 18 kilometres of the Bakers Narrows campground, Feely said.

"The smoke is horrendous," he noted. "They wouldn’t have a very fun time camping."

About 200 firefighters are working on the blaze, with 11 helicopters and eight water-bomber planes. The manpower will be boosted by about 140 in the next few days as firefighters arrive from Ontario, British Columbia, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the provincial fire commissioner’s office continues to work with Conservation to save cottages and cabins.

Feely said there’s word that two cabins have been damaged by fire, "but we can’t confirm that because of the smoke. And one rail bridge along a railway has burned."

A road between Cranberry Portage and Sherridon remains closed to traffic except for local vehicles.

The province has prohibited open fires in the areas of Cranberry Portage, Flin Flon, The Pas and Thompson, extending the ban to Manitoba’s far northern limits.