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Grass fires prompt evacuations in Manitoba

Staff writers
October 2, 2012 — Powerful winds helped fuel grass fires in southern Manitoba Tuesday. One prompted a local state of emergency for the community of Vita.

Fire crews at Loudoun Road (courtesy ChrisDca)
Fire crews at Loudoun Road (courtesy ChrisDca)

Flames from a wildfire have torched some homes in a small community south of Winnipeg. 

The Town of Vita was evacuated Tuesday afternoon as a precaution as ground crews and a fleet of water bombers fought the blaze. 

Dennis Smook, who represents the area in the Manitoba legislature, says there was lots of heavy smoke and the flames were nowhere near being under control. 

Three homes are said to have been destroyed. 

Grass fires were also threatening the communities of St. Malo, Richer and Milner Ridge. 

Officials say a bridge west of the Vita has been destroyed and there was no access to the town off Highway 201.

Meanwhile, in the Winnipeg area, strong winds helped re-ignited a fire in  the Charleswood area. Flames were burning near Loudoun Road on Tuesday.

Highway 59 is closed between Highway 216 and Highway 403 due to poor visibility from the smoke. A section of Highway 403 has also been closed. 

A wind gust of 85 km/h was recorded in Winnipeg on Tuesday. The blustery conditions made it difficult for crews to gain the upper hand on some of the fires burning across Manitoba.

With files from the Canadian Press

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