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Nov 18

Swan River declares state of emergency due to large ice jam

Town officials in Swan River have declared a state of emergency in the town north of Winnipeg, due to an ice jam that is stretching more than a kilometre long.

Mayor Glen McKenzie said the state of emergency was called around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, as ice made its way on to properties in low laying areas in the town.

“There’s about 12 to 15 homes that are directly affected by this flood,” McKenzie said.

Fire crews and volunteers have been working through the night sandbagging, and breaking up ice on the Red River. McKenzie said he has never seen an ice buildup like this in Swan River.

“I’ve been around a number of years, we’ve had issues with flooding before,’ McKenzie said. “This is the first time we’ve been affected by ice in my time.”

Officials said they will be checking throughout the day, to see if water levels have dropped.

Lance Jacobson/Submitted

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Heavy equipment is also being used to break up ice. McKenzie said water levels have been inconsistent in the past twelve hours, and there are no sings that levels will drop anytime soon.

RELATED: Fire officials work around the clock sandbagging near Clandeboye, Manitoba

“They go up a little bit, then come back down.”

Town officials will be holding a meeting Sunday to evaluate the current situation, and find relievers for people who have been sandbagging throughout the night.

“People have been on the go for a number of hours, and they’re starting to tire out,” McKenzie said.

In the meantime officials are advising anyone in the area to stay away from the river.