Forest Fire Forces Evacuation of Manitoba First Nation

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The Canadian Red Cross said at least 300 will be forced from their homes by a forest fire in a Manitoba First Nation.

Since Red Cross disaster assistance to First Nations is supported by the federal government, the expenses for these responses are covered.

Manitoba Sustainable Development now lists the fire, which is approximately seven kilometres north of the community, as out of control.

"Our team will ensure the evacuees receive the assistance they need during this trying time", Shawn Feely, vice-president of Manitoba and Nunavut Canadian Red Cross, said in the news release.

Flights started early Thursday afternoon taking the evacuees to Thompson, Man., where they will await other flights to take them to Winnipeg.

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"It was determined it was best, if we were going to do the evacuation, to start (Thursday) during daylight and not to fly people out at night", Feely said. "There's a lot of concern around the fire when you're just a fly-in community", Feely said.

"The Red Cross has the capacity to handle a larger evacuation, definitely", he said. There have been 39 forest fires so far this year and 32 of them are out.

Approximately 900 people live in the community, according to 2011 data from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

A map prepared by Manitoba Sustainable Development shows the fire's location in relation to Red Sucker Lake.

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