Cranberry Portage Fire, June 4, 1929

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June came in as a scorcher. Since the spring break-up, we had seen no rain. The sun rolled above the pines at 4 A.M. and got in sixteen hours of vicious work daily, before a long-suffering Mother Earth could heave up a protecting shoulder. Each breeze became a withering blast that dragged moisture from the very tree roots. The forest quiet was punctuated with a million faint cracklings. Undergrowth wilted and browned; leaves hung motionless. Spruce and pine slashings along miles of right of way waited for just one spark to transform them into screaming explosions of flame.

So wrote Ruth and Jack Patterson in their book Cranberry Portage (McClelland and Stewart, 1970). Fire was ignited as the rail lines to Flin Flon and Sherridon were being laid.

The following pages reveal the story of the day that fire swept through the town. We do not know who took the pictures. The selection of photographs and the caption text are by Mary-Ann Playford.

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