POLITICS

Wildfires prompt backcountry travel restrictions, fire bans in eastern Manitoba

05/14/2012 10:49 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT
WINNIPEG - Wildfires have prompted extensive backcountry travel restrictions and burning bans in eastern Manitoba.

The Conservation Department says no one will be allowed to enter the backcountry without a permit.

All forest, mining and quarry operations will only be allowed to operate with a permit and campfires will only be permitted in approved pits.

Officials say the fire danger remains high in the southeast region of the province due to lack of moisture, warm temperatures and high winds.

Efforts are focused on protecting the community of Badger where more than a dozen people have had to leave their homes.

The main fire of concern is a 50-square-kilometre blaze near the community, about 30 kilometres north of the U.S. border.

A sprinkler has been set up to keep buildings wet in case the fire gets closer.

The Rural Municipality of Piney declared a state of emergency Sunday. Fires have also eaten through forest in Sandilands Provincial Park.

Municipal fire crews were being supported by more than 60 provincial forest firefighters.

Six bulldozers, six water bombers and three helicopters were in use. Two additional water bombers were expected to arrive from Quebec late Monday.