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Cranberry Portage, Man. residents return home after wildfire

Almost exactly a week after an impending wildfire forced them to evacuate, residents from the community of Cranberry Portage, Man., were allowed to return home Sunday.

Lori Forbes, the emergency measures coordinator for the RM of Kelsey, said families were up bright and early to be at the RCMP’s Highway 10 barricade when it opened at 10 a.m.

“They’re just really happy to be going home,” Forbes said. “It feels like Christmas morning. It’s just such a good feeling, re-energizing us for sure, knowing that everyone is alive, and everyone is going home.”

The community suffered significant damage to its electrical infrastructure, but Forbes said all the properties in town survived.

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“There is no structure damage,” Forbes said. “The cabins and houses and dwellings are all standing.”

Dolly Charlette, who lives in the community, told Global News on Friday that she was more than ready to return.

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During the evacuation, Charlette relocated to The Pas with her son, granddaughter and dog to stay with her sister.

“I was just tearing up because it’s felt like a month that I’ve been here, and yet it’s only been a week. But that’s just how it feels when you’re displaced and not knowing. (This) feels like a breath of relief,” she said.

As of the province’s last wildfire update Friday, the WE010 fire near Flin Flon remains approximately 37,000 hectares in size — about 80 per cent the size of the city of Winnipeg.

Officials have brought in six water bombers, seven helicopters, over 200 provincial personnel, 40 firefighters from Ontario, five from Parks Canada, 20 from New Brunswick, and 21 from Quebec to help fight the blaze.

Click to play video: 'Cranberry Portage wildfire evacuees could return home this weekend with rainy conditions expected'

Cranberry Portage wildfire evacuees could return home this weekend with rainy conditions expected

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