New WCA Member Discounts are Available! Click for more information

Free Press Article – Bone-dry conditions worry firefighters, cottagers

Posted on: May 3, 2021  |  

WCA President, Kerry Davies was recently interviewed about the dry conditions and wildfire risk.

From the Free Press  https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/bone-dry-conditions-worry-firefighters-cottagers-574337772.html

 

By: Cody Sellar
Posted: 4:00 AM CDT Monday, May. 3, 2021
Last Modified: 7:16 AM CDT Monday, May. 3, 2021 | Updates

 

It could be a gruelling summer for firefighters in southern Manitoba as tinder-dry conditions have set the stage for a wild season of wildfires.

It could be a gruelling summer for firefighters in southern Manitoba as tinder-dry conditions have set the stage for a wild season of wildfires.

Fire crews in Winnipeg battled 39 wildfires in April; there were 200 during all of last year.

People who illegally burn leaves, grass or other debris can be held liable if neighbouring properties go up in flames, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service assistant chief Mark Reshaur said.

Outside the city, 20 wildfires have burned more than 12,000 acres since late March.

In Gimli, water-bomber pilots have been preparing for battle, practising takeoffs, water-loading on Lake Winnipeg and landing.

Conditions have raised concerns among vacation-property owners in numerous areas. Kerry Davies, president of the Whiteshell Cottagers Association, said there is abundant deadfall to fuel flames scattered throughout the provincial park.

“Cottagers are concerned about the lack of precipitation overall,” he said.

“There is a concern that there are some roads in the Whiteshell that are one road in, meaning there’s only one road out if a fire does happen.”

The association keeps a close eye on the situation and speaks to provincial officials almost daily, he said.

Manitoba Wildlife Service director Dave Schafer said this time of year, before grass, trees and plants begin to flourish is prime for wildfires to quickly spread.

“Fires travel really fast in dried grass,” he said. Although they may not be as high as a forest fire in northern Manitoba, they move quickly, and they have a lot of heat and intensity.”

The prime suspect in fires later in the year are usually lightning strikes during electrical storms, but in the spring it’s almost always people, he said.

“At this time of year, it’s more like 90 per cent,” he said, noting careless behaviour started all 20 fires his service has recorded so far this year.

The entire southern part of the province is dealing with drought conditions, he said, urging Manitobans to avoid using equipment that sparks, and keep water and fire extinguishers on hand.

To prepare for wildfire season, the province will be drawing resources from northern Manitoba into the south, he said.

Winter snowfall and some remaining snow cover should protect northern areas from severe blazes, allowing for the reallocation of crews and equipment to the south, Schafer said.

He said an additional five seasonal firefighting crews will bring the total to about 41 groups of four or five people each.

fpcity@freepress.mb.ca

Fire prevention

For property owners and caretakers:

 

  • Thin and prune vegetation
  • Clean up brush, leaves, grass and debris
  • Plant fire-resistant plants and avoid combustible plants
  • Water plants often.
  • Store firewood at least 10 metres away from structures
  • Position fire pits in open areas

 

For general public:

 

  • Do not throw cigarette butts into vegetation, including grass.
  • Do not burn yard waste, garbage or scrap material on your property. You can be fined for doing so.
  • Only burn clean, dry, untreated wood in fire pits.
  • Use fire pits enclosed on all times with mesh screens to catch sparks. You can be fined for failing to do so.
  • Always keep something nearby to extinguish fires.
  • Do not start fires when wind speeds exceed 25 km/h. You can be fined for doing so.

All News Categories

Big WhiteshellA beautiful sunrise picture taken by a cabin guest this morning. Thank you for sharing it with us. ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Question from a cottager - "Hello. I was hoping to get cottagers input with experiences dealing with Parks in regards to applying for a building permit or site permit. There seems to be confusion whether the building permit percentage is based on square footage, or total cost. Also, any experiences with dealing with letters of assurance would be greatly appreciated.". ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Join our Whiteshell Community by becoming a Whiteshell Cottagers Association Member. Created in 1951 with the goal of bringing Hydro into the Park we are now celebrating our 70th Anniversary. These days our focus is on:• Lease & Service Fees • Lake Water Quality / Invasive Species• Water Level Management & Control • Internet & Cellular Service• Road Maintenance & Repair (both Highways & Block Roads)• Government Relations• More- see our Website at whiteshellcottagers.com/ Be sure you take out your Membership now, so you’ll be included to receive our free Park Pass holder being mailed to Members the first week of June along with the 3rd 2021 edition of the Whiteshell Echo Newspaper. The pass holder is constructed of durable laminated cardstock with a clear pocket to slip your pass into including a zip lock seal.Membership can be obtained securely on-line at whiteshellcottagers.com/membership/ or if you prefer - a print & mail form can be found on our Website (or we can email you one). Any questions? Please email us at wca@whiteshellcottagers.com It looks like there may be interesting times in the not-too-distant future. Become a Member now. ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Winnipeg River Lake levels for the week of May 6th ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Eastman Tourism – “Have you visited the #Pinawa Suspension Bridge? It's an amazing place!” ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook

Recent Instagram Posts