Crews continue to extinguish hotspots a day after large grassfire near Carberry

The ground has been left charred and scorched as fire crews continue to comb the area and extinguish hotspots a day after a grassfire near Carberry, Man., burned out of control.

On Friday morning, Carberry North Cypress-Longford Fire Department were combing the land about 12 kilometres west of Carberry, where hours earlier a grass fire had set fields ablaze.

Manitoba RCMP told CTV News about 20 homes were evacuated from the area after smoke was reported around 2:45 p.m. on Thursday. 

"There was a concern the fire would jump the tracks and spread to a nearby residential area," Sgt. Paul Manaigre, a media relations officer for the Manitoba RCMP, told CTV News in an email.

(Source: Danton Unger/ CTV News Winnipeg)

A statement from the Carberry North Cypress-Longford Fire Department, posted on Facebook Friday evening, said when the fire was reported, it immediately activated mutual aid, calling in multiple water trucks from local farmers and colonies, as well as sequestering tractors, discs, and a scraper.

"As the main fire was beginning to dissipate, a second call was received at 7:38 p.m., which forced us to dispatch six trucks away from the main scene to a second fire," the department said in its statement, adding the second fire was contained quickly.

An evacuation centre was set up in Carberry at the local rink, though Bob Adriaansen, the reeve of the Municipality of North Cypress-Langford, told CTV News no one actually ended up staying there, opting instead to stay with friends or family.

 Brad Wells, the municipal emergency coordinator, said the high winds and dry conditions in the area are likely to blame for the fires spread.

“The wind was up most of the evening and all night actually, but the fire department had it under control," Wells told CTV News. 

(Source: Danton Unger/ CTV News Winnipeg)

Environment Canada said the area experienced wind gusts reaching up to 52 kilometres per hour throughout the evening on Thursday.

Lauren Van Dewoestyne, a resident in the area, was in Brandon when a friend called her about the fire.

"I was really scared, and there was smoke already on the number 1 Highway – and I thought to myself, 'Wow, what if my house is actually on fire,'" Van Dewoestyne told CTV News.

While residents were allowed to return to their homes Thursday evening after the fire was extinguished around 8:30 p.m., they were only able to see how close the fire had actually come to their homes in the daylight hours on Friday.

The Carberry North Cypress-Longford Fire Department said one home was damaged in the fire – with its siding burned, along with a garden shed. The fire department said no other property was damaged.

(Source: Danton Unger/ CTV News Winnipeg)

Many lawns in the small development had been turned black from the fire that had – for some residents – come within metres of their house.

Manitoba RCMP said there were no reports of injuries from the fire.

The Carberry North Cypress-Longford Fire Department said investigations are ongoing, but the fire is believed to have been started by an ATV.

"With the extremely dry conditions, we highly recommend no off-road travel anywhere in the Municipality of North-Cypress Langford," the department said.

While residents begin to clean up after the close call, Wells is warning people something similar could happen again.

“People should realize this danger is not past us," he said. "It’s too dry and people need to very careful that they don’t set any unnecessary fires.” 

-with files from CTV's Mason DePatie.