Late last week, lightning strikes near Cranberry Portage resulted in several fires igniting in the region. Initially, there wasn't a lot of concern however as the wind started to whip up, the size of the fires increased rapidly, and by Saturday evening close to 700 people were being evacuated from the community.

While those residents have yet to return, with the power out since Saturday, they know when they do it will be a mess of spoiled food and other surprises. For now, people are just happy the community has been spared to this point.

Flin Flon is also being affected by the fires and while the community hasn't been in any immediate danger just yet, a thick smoke has blanketed the community, and the city was left without internet, cell service, and phone lines for several days. The fires have been visible off in the distance all week as well.

fire in the nightResidents of Flin Flon can see the fires from different spots of the city.

Longtime Portage resident Darrell Lee grew up in Creighton which is in the same area and much of his immediate family remains in the community. Lee says he was happy to finally get through to them Wednesday.

"I did try to get ahold of my brother on Sunday but due to the communication issues that they've had I wasn't able to touch base with him. Fortunately, my mom had left before the fires started and she's out of there but my brother was finally able call me back and things are okay there. Lots of air quality issues but yeah, it was nice to get a hold of some family and realize everybody's okay."

Lee has been watching the situation closely and knows the area well.

"As somebody that used to work for Natural Resources in that area, I'm pretty familiar with where the fire is and it is large. It's awfully close to some cottages and from my understanding, there may have been some cottages lost, which is always really devastating for anybody."

fire areaThe fire is burning very close to Cranberry Portage and has crossed the highway North of the community.

While the area is usually busy on May long weekend with people camping and fishing that certainly won't be the case this year. Campgrounds in Bakers Narrows and Grass River provincial parks are closed until at least May 27 including Bakers Narrows, Gyles, Iskwasum Landing and Reed Lake. Manitoba Parks is contacting all affected reservation holders and seasonal campers. Backcountry travel along the Grass River from Cranberry Portage to Reed Lake is prohibited. Many roads in the area also have restricted access as well.

Plenty of rain and cool temperatures are expected in the region for the long weekend and although that alone will not put out the blaze, firefighters are welcoming the help from Mother Nature.

highwayThe fire creates an eerie glow in the sky at night.