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A spokesperson for Manitoba Sustainable Development says seven water bombers saved the day Tuesday near Lac du Bonnet.

Earl Simmons says shortly after 3 pm, one of their helicopters spotted fire northwest of Lac du Bonnet while on patrol. The fire was approximately three hectares in size and water bombers were dispatched out of Gimli.

However, because of the windy conditions and the strong crosswind of more than 25 knots on the strip at Gimli, the water bombers were unable to launch. Simmons says, fortunately, with help from Ontario, they were able to use two of their tankers. Shortly after, the weather cooperated and they were able to dispatch their five water bombers out of Gimli.

The fire prompted the evacuation of 10 residences, with another 10 being put on notice. The RM of Lac du Bonnet also activated its emergency shelter, while roads in the area were closed. Simmons notes a bus transporting students home from school also needed to turn around and return the children back to school.

Simmons says the tankers did a very effective job of holding the fire and preventing it from getting away. They kept it to 67 hectares in size and Simmons says that is really good considering how windy it was on Tuesday.

"We were quite concerned, the fire was raging ahead and if we wouldn't have had seven water bombers that would have certainly posed a major challenge for us," admits Simmons. "That's what saved the day."

By Tuesday night the fire was contained and Simmons says residents were allowed back in their homes. No structures were lost in the fire.

According to Simmons, the fire is under investigation, though authorities know it was human-caused.

Meanwhile, Simmons says Tuesday was a very favourable day for the situation at Caddy Lake. The evacuation order that had been in place was lifted Tuesday and they also reopened Provincial Road 312.


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