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Fire update, May 22: No new hotspots in past week, at least nine structures destroyed

The WE010 fire is still considered active, but barely. Evacuees from the fire have been returning home, Highway 10 is back open and the fire has not grown in a week.
A helicopter dumps water on a forest fire from above.

The WE010 fire is still considered active, but barely. Evacuees from the fire have been returning home, Highway 10 is back open and the fire has not grown in a week.

According to NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS), no new hotspots have been found in the past week with the fire. It is still considered to be "out of control" by the Manitoba Wildfire Service, but the perimeter of the fire has not grown in a week. The fire has burned just under 40,000 hectares, though exact estimates through the Manitoba Wildfire Service, Natural Resources Canada and other data sources differ on exactly how much land was affected.

The fire was held back from most populated areas, including Cranberry Portage, where a combination of diligence from local fire crews, a well-maintained fire guard and cold weather with little wind helped keep the fire at bay. While the blaze came within a kilometre and a half of town and the area was evacuated for over a week, no buildings in Cranberry Portage were destroyed in the fire.

In total, the provincial government estimates at least nine structures were destroyed in the fire, most of which were in Sourdough Bay, where eight structures were destroyed - five cabins, one permanent home and a pair of garages. One home was destroyed in Twin Lakes, while the rest of the subdivision remains standing. All properties at Bakers Narrows, Schist Lake North and Whitefish Lake remain standing as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, though some have been damaged by the fire yet still stand.

The provincial estimate does not include any remote wilderness cabins located on lakes outside the organized cabin areas. The province said that aerial crews will assess damage in other areas affected by the fire in the coming weeks.

Crews continue to work on the fire, including firefighters from four provinces - Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec - as well as a crew from Parks Canada. Six waterbombers and seven helicopters are assigned to fight the blaze.

People in areas that were evacuated by the fire, including Cranberry Portage, Bakers Narrows, Schist Lake North, Sourdough Bay, Twin Lakes and Whitefish Lake, were able to return home as of 10 a.m. Sunday - the evacuation reception centres in The Pas and Flin Flon have closed.

People who were evacuated from those areas will be eligible for payments from the provincial government to help cover costs incurred from leaving. An evacuation allowance of $200 will be issued to people whose primary residences are in the five communities. Those payments can be picked up in Flin Flon at the Barrow Provincial Building (Red Square) on Main Street from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or in Cranberry Portage at the LUD Administrative Office on Portage Road until end of day May 24.

The province also announced a one-time supplement for anyone who was evacuated from the area for over a week - which all evacuees would have been during the eight-day evacuation period. The supplement, which includes $200 per adult eligible and $100 per child eligible, will be paid out to people who registered with an Emergency Social Services reception centre. Payments can be picked up at the same two locations in Flin Flon and Cranberry Portage and will be mailed out to people May 27 if not already claimed.

Manitoba Highway 10 has been reopened and there are no fire-related travel restrictions on the road. RCMP convoys used to take people through the area affected by the blaze have been ended, allowing for unfettered, 24-hour travel along the road. The Sherridon road and the Keewatin Railway Company line leading to Pukatawagan have both reopened.

No reports of injuries or other casualties due to the fire have been announced.

Bakers Narrows Provincial Park and Grass River Provincial Park are still closed and will stay so until May 27, covering the Bakers Narrows, Gyles, Iskwasum and Reed Lake campgrounds. The Karst Spring trail in Grass River Provincial Park is also closed and backcountry travel through Grass River is currently banned while the fire is still considered active.

Meanwhile, the WE011 fire near Wanless is now considered "under control". The blaze came within two kilometres of Wanless and reached the shore of Clearwater Lake at its furthest point, but fire response and cold weather helped keep it at bay. No new hotspots have been reported with the WE011 fire in over a week.

Smoke from the fire may still enter surrounding areas in the coming days, depending on wind direction - if smoke settles around the community, the province has asked people to limit outdoor activity, stay indoors with windows and doors shut and stay hydrated.

Provincial crews have also reported sightings of third-party unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) around the fire and near Flin Flon Airport. In Canada, flying drones near planes and airports is a crime, punishable by hefty fines. Drone pilots are asked to keep their craft away from areas where planes and helicopters are active, since they pose a safety risk to manned aircraft. Drone use around airports is a criminal offence in Canada under federal aviation law, with fines up to $3,000 if aircraft or people are put at risk.

Anyone affected by the fires who needs help can call 211 or toll-free at 1-855-274-1187 or use chat-based options at

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