Whiteshell wildfire damages trailers, RVs after jumping into storage compound

A wildfire in southeastern Manitoba has doubled in size and damaged about a half dozen trailers and RVs being kept in a storage compound.

Efforts are underway to protect property and structures in the area, a spokesperson from the provincial government said in a Thursday morning email.

The latest estimated size of the blaze in the southern part of Whiteshell Provincial Park, near the community of Toniata on the northern shore of Falcon Lake, was about 80 hectares, or about 198 acres, the email said.

Fire crews continue to battle the fire with help from water bombers from Manitoba and Ontario.

The public is reminded to avoid the area as crews need room to work.

Manitoba is experiencing a drought that has created extremely dry conditions that could allow wildfires to get out of control quickly.

There are travel restrictions in place to prevent people from entering areas suffering from the dry conditions, including all provincial parks south of the 53rd parallel.

Such restrictions were issued for Area 2, which includes the Whiteshell and Falcon Beach area.

The Manitoba government has cancelled all existing provincial burning permits in that area and no new permits are to be issued there.

Boats can only be loaded and launched from “developed shorelines,” while aircraft can land and take off from developed docks or shorelines.

Fines up to $10K

Motorized back country travel — including on forestry roads, private roads or trails — is prohibited.

But motorized access to cottages on maintained park, municipal and subdivision roads is allowed without a travel permit.

Campfires are allowed in fire pits from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and camping is only permitted on “developed campgrounds.” Wayside parks remain open.

Individuals found guilty of breaking the rules could be fined up to $10,000. Corporations could be ticketed $50,000.

People could also be liable for the costs of extinguishing a wildfire, if they are found burning without a permit during wildfire season.