As wildfires rage in northern Manitoba, ministry leaders are encouraging people to pray.

All 500-plus residents of the community of Cranberry Portage were forced to evacuate on Saturday as a fire came within a kilometre of the community. Simonhouse Bible Camp is just 17 kilometres to the southeast, though Simonhouse Lake stands between the fire and camp currently.

The camp's executive director, Darrell Janzen is at their community office in Flin Flon, Man., where internet and cellular communications have been cut off by damage from the fires.

"Everyone's concerned," he says talking about the mood in Flin Flon. "We all know people now who have been affected directly by some of the structures that are gone. Everyone, I think, empathizes quite a bit and understands what's involved." He says it's unsettling as they watch the weather and wind directions, waiting to see what the fire will do next. 

a map showing the affected areas The fire surrounding Cranberry Portage is 35,000 hectares and is currently considered out of control. It is currently approximately 15 kilometres to the east of Flin Flon. (Screenshot: Natural Resources FireView 2024)

Unfortunately, Janzen says, some properties have been lost due to the fire. "There are some of the outlining lake and cottage areas [where the fires began]. Definitely, some [of those cottages] have been taken by the fire. There will be a rebuilding process there."

Janzen says that prayers for changing weather are needed as the region has been struggling with drought conditions. "We definitely need a lot of rain, a lot of moisture anyways as our lakes were already really low. The wind was kicking up very hard for a while, though it is calmer. They could still do with reduced winds, I think."

The camp director says they're also praying for those fighting the fires, and they're praying the camp property will remain safe.