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Cranberry Portage, cabin areas evacuated, Highway 10 closed as forest fire grows

More communities have been evacuated and Manitoba Highway 10 has been closed due to a growing forest fire.
The WE010 fire, as seen May 11 from the tower at Bakers Narrows Provincial Park. The fire has caused several nearby communities to be evacuated, including Cranberry Portage.

More communities have been evacuated and Manitoba Highway 10 has been closed due to a growing forest fire.

Cranberry Portage, the community on Manitoba Highway 10 that around 600 people call home, was evacuated Saturday evening. Firefighters and RCMP went door-to-door to signal residents to leave.

Also evacuated was Twin Lakes, a cabin subdivision near Twin Lake and Payuk Lake not far from Highway 10. About 20 cabins and residences are located along Gemini Road at Twin Lakes, with approximately another 10 residences across the highway at Payuk Lake, according to information from the North of 54 Cottage Association.

Around 9 p.m. local time, residents at Bakers Narrows were also advised the area was under a two-hour evacuation notice.

Manitoba Highway 800, the road to Sherridon, has also been closed due to the fire crossing over it, leaving Sherridon's approximately 60 residents stranded from land transport. The road was closed around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Most evacuees from Cranberry Portage have headed south toward The Pas instead of toward Flin Flon, going away from the fire. Students from Frontier Collegiate in Cranberry Portage, many of whom live in the school's on-site dormitories, have been moved to The Pas and will stay at Mary Duncan School. 

The blaze, officially known as the "WE010" fire in official Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development records, has expanded to over 6,300 hectares as of Saturday evening according to Natural Resources Canada, just two days after it was first spotted. According to Natural Resources Canada mapping and NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), new hotspots for the fire have been reported for the north, south and east in the last 24 hours.

The WE010 fire is still considered "out of control" as of Saturday evening according to the Manitoba Wildfire Service.

The cabin area of Sourdough Bay was evacuated Friday night due to the fire. There are around 30 cabins around the northern portion of Sourdough Bay, with another five to 10 around Whitefish Lake.

In Flin Flon, evacuees from Cranberry Portage or the cabin areas in need of places to store boats, campers or trailers can do so at the North of 53 Consumers' Co-op grocery store, Canadian Tire or Grant Funeral Home, each on Highway 10A, at the former Co-op building near Main Street, at the Co-op Cardlock station at Timber Lane or at the Overland Resort or Bayside Resort in Denare Beach. People can contact Co-op to arrange for storage at their sites at (204) 271-2518, the Overland at (306) 362-2053, Bayside at (306) 362-2122 and can contact Grant Funeral Home through their Facebook page.

In The Pas, evacuees with campers are able to park at the Opasquia Agricultural Society and Exhibition Grounds on Third Avenue.

No updated information has yet been made available on the fire's size or location from the Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Manitoba 511 has been updated to show Highway 10 is closed between Cranberry Portage and Flin Flon. No information has been made available about possible property loss from official sources as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Municipal fire bans are in place in Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach. None of the three communities have announced any evacuation or preparation orders as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

"The City of Flin Flon is not in any imminent danger from the fire - however, it is important to be prepared in the event the situation changes," reads an announcement from the City of Flin Flon's social media pages.

Both Manitoba Wildfire Service crews and firefighters from Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage have deployed to fight the fire and keep it away from homes and cabins. Members of the Flin Flon Fire Department headed to Cranberry Portage to assist.

Help in fighting the fire has been called in from Saskatchewan and Ontario - equipment from the nearby fire base in Denare Beach has been deployed to fight the fire when available and fire crews from Ontario are expected to come early next week.

One solace could be coming in the form of Saturday and Sunday's weather forecast - while winds blowing toward the southeast are in the forecast overnight and winds toward the south are forecasted for Sunday, a 30 per cent chance of showers is predicted overnight and Sunday, with an overnight low of plus-three degrees.

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