Tighter bans on campfires are now in place for northern Manitoba, moving from Level 1 to Level 2 restrictions due to recent fire danger.
Almost all fire areas in Manitoba are, as of August 6, under Level 2 restrictions, including Areas 12 and 13, which cover Flin Flon, Bakers Narrows, Snow Lake, Cranberry Portage, Clearwater Lake, The Pas, Thompson and all other communities in the extended area. Provincial burning permits are cancelled, as are authorizations for fireworks and non-permitted backcountry travel. Restrictions for Area 13 are similar to those already in place in Manitoba provincial parks.
"Although there have been some recent improvements in weather conditions in parts of Manitoba, the fire danger levels remain high and some increased restrictions are required. These changes to fire and travel restrictions are being implemented, effective immediately," reads an August 6 provincial fire report.
In Manitoba provincial parks, campfires are only allowed between 8 p.m.-8 a.m. and can only be made in approved fire pits. Cooking with charcoal briquettes, which was previously against fire restrictions, is now approved but also only from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. Gas appliances like propane barbecues and stoves can be used at all times.
Motorized backcountry travel can only be done by people with approved travel permits and no backcountry camping is permitted for now - picnic areas, beaches, campgrounds and other “front-country” areas are still open. Boats, jet skis and other watercraft can only land and launch on developed shorelines, while access to remote cottages is restricted to travel permit holders - the permits can only be issued at a conservation officer’s discretion.
In areas where Level 2 restrictions are in place, having fires without burning permits can lead to hefty fines - up to $10,000 for people, up to $50,000 for companies and corporations. People responsible for starting fires that spread and become wildfires can also be held liable for costs for fighting the blazes.
Flin Flon, Creighton, Denare Beach and Snow Lake all, as of August 6, have local fire bans in place.
One Manitoba area - Area 4, located near Manitoba's elbow with the Ontario border - is under Level 4 restrictions, with all access to and from the area banned, no fires permitted and all permanent residents told to be ready to evacuate on an hour's advance notice.