Grass fire burns in St. Clements, inside Brokenhead Ojibway Nation

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Grass fire burns in St. Clements, inside Brokenhead Ojibway Nation

A grass fire is burning on the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and in an area just a few minutes before the community about 50 kilometres north of Winnipeg. 

Flames were shooting from a field off a gravel road near Highway 59 in St. Clements around 1 p.m. Sunday.

East Selkirk fire chief Kevin Zacharkiw told CBC News the fire began sometime Saturday night around 6 p.m. The cause is unknown at this time.

The chief of the Brokenhead fire department, Ray Bear, was watching as his crews kept an eye on and at time fought the other side of the fire in Brokenhead, just a few minutes from where Zacharkiw's crew was stationed.

He said his crews had the fire off of Highway 59 under control Saturday until the wind changed. 

Bear said firefighters had the blaze contained around 2 p.m. Sunday and he hoped that meant no evacuations would be needed, however he said the situation could change again. 

"It all depends on the wind."

Backup called in

The department had to call in back up from neighbouring communities with fire departments. Smoke was billowing throughout the First Nation, and fields very close to houses were completely torched.

Bear told CBC News two houses were at risk on the First Nation, but they should be safe now that the fire is under control.

Cheyenne Prince lives in Brokenhead and went to bed worried Saturday. The mom was prepared to evacuate her home Sunday morning with her kids if the fires had continued to burn out of control. 

She said the fire, which her dad is helping to fight, came close to her house at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

"And we just kept on watching it to see if it would come closer, but then it just went [away from us] fast."