Another 1,500 evacuated from northern Manitoba

WINNIPEG — Smoke from a Northern Manitoba wildfire has prompted officials with the Garden Hill First Nation to move another 1,500 people to Winnipeg.

Jason Small with the Red Cross says the evacuation is on top of the more than 3,500 people from the area who have already left.

Small says the decision was made by the leadership of Garden Hill in consultation with the federal government.

The evacuations will be done Saturday and Sunday by military Hercules transport aircraft as well as several smaller chartered planes.

The Manitoba government tweeted Saturday that the fire near Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill now covers 28,000 hectares and that rain overnight had little effect on the flames.

Small says the earlier evacuees had more serious health issues, but the ones leaving now still have health concerns.

“This group is not the people with the highest priority health issues, but they still have health concerns and health needs that need to be thought about, especially with the smoke in the area,” Small said Saturday.

On Friday the fire was about one kilometre from Wasagamack and crews were working to keep it from advancing.

The government says about 400 firefighters, nine water bombers and 21 other aircraft are battling the fire.