RM of Piney declares local state of emergency as forest fire burns for 24 hours in southeast Manitoba

A rural municipality in southeast Manitoba is declaring a local state of emergency as a forest fire, burning for more than 24 hours, crossed a highway on Sunday and is forcing traffic to be rerouted.

Jean Claude Normandeau, the deputy chief of the La Broquerie Fire Department says crews have been battling the fire between Marchand and Woodridge, Man., since 4:30 p.m. on Saturday 

At this point, the wildfire is about 700 hectares in size, and the RM of Piney has declared a state of local emergency as a precaution, a provincial government spokesperson stated in an email.

On Sunday, the fire crossed Provincial Road 210 and is now moving south, Normandeau says. The province closed the highway from the junction of Highway 404 to Woodridge as a result.

Crews from the Manitoba Wildfire Service and the Marchand Fire Department are also working to contain the forest fire using water bombers and ground crews, he says. 

“Right now there are no structures in danger, but they’re keeping a close eye on it,” Normandeau said.

No injuries have been reported, he added.

People are asked to stay away from the area as crews continue to battle the wildfire.

He had a word of caution for people to be careful when using backcountry trails.

“Be very careful and vigilant on the conditions….  Always look back and see that they didn’t leave any unwanted fires,” Normandeau said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, he says.

CBC News has reached out to Manitoba Conservation, and a spokesperson said they will issue a news release.

A full map of which areas have fire restrictions is available on the province’s website.

People can report wildfires by calling 911 or the toll-free TIP line at 1-800-782-0076.