Pesky fire at Centreport Canada Way burning for nearly a week

A grass fire at Centreport Canada Way that’s over-staying its welcome continues to give crews trouble as they try to fully extinguish it.

The City of Winnipeg says the flames started up on Monday, and have been put out by Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) crews multiple times, but keep flaring up.

Now, the WFPS, Office of the Fire Commissioner and the land owner are creating a long-term mitigation strategy.

That means you may see smoke and smouldering from time to time, but the risk to life is minimal since the land is unused and no buildings are nearby.

That doesn’t mean the work is finished for WFPS crews, though.

Assistant Chief Mark Reshaur says fires that grow long in the tooth, like this one, put a tremendous strain on resources.

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“Fighting a wildfire involves an awful lot of hard, physical labour, a lot of people to do it, a lot of people to get tools and equipment to the scene.”

It’s part of the job when you’re a firefighter, Reshaur explains, but during an uncharacteristic stretch of high temperatures, keeping crews safe is of the utmost priority.

“We rotate staff in, we limit how long they can work, we keep them hydrated, we set up rehab stations for them to cool off.”

“We actually have specialized chairs with arms that have ice water in them, so you can soak your arms in the ice water.”

With little relief in the forecast, Reshaur is pleading with Winnipeggers to be careful with fires.

“We’re evaluating conditions on an ongoing basis, and if we need to do so, (protective measures) will be taken.”

“We’d likely do so in a progressive manner, where we cancel any burn permits and fireworks permits, and decline to issue any more.”

Reshaur says if the heat and dry conditions hold up, a ban on open fires within city limits could be on the table.

Crews are still investigating the original cause of the blaze on Centreport Canada Way.

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