Manitoba Hydro working to restore power to 2 First Nations in north

The smoke has all but cleared on one of the most active wildfire summers across the country, but two First Nation communities have yet to return home because power is still not available.

The summer wildfires have mostly run their course, and in Manitoba, work is being done to repair the damage they caused.

In Manitoba, there are 36 active wildfires but none of them are out of control and many affected communities have returned.

But roughly 1,500 residents from Paiungassi and Little Grand Rapids First Nations, both about 400 km northeast of Winnipeg, have yet to return home.

Fires damaged the two communities’ power supply and Manitoba Hydro crews are still working on repairing them.

Manitoba Hydro said 73 of 90 poles have been repaired or replaced and 30 of 35 structures in need of repair have been completed.

With no road access, equipment needs to be pre-assembled near Bloodvein and flown by helicopter to the damaged area.

Also making things harder is the fact that many of the replacement poles need to be set in rock, which requires special drilling equipment.

The Canadian Red Cross said support is still being given to those residents out of their community and will continue until they return home

“The help is the same as it has been throughout the response – providing lodging in hotels, food and other necessities, as well working with partner groups to provide access to recreation, as well medical and mental health supports,” said Jason Small of the Canadian Red Cross in an emailed statement to APTN News.

Manitoba Hydro staff will be in both communities on Sep. 28 to inspect infrastructure in preparation for the return of power to the communities.

Manitoba Hydro says the estimated timeline for the remaining work is two to four weeks pending any weather disruptions.

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