Progress made in fire fight in Saskatchewan, but evacuees to stay out

By on September 3, 2017


Flag of Saskatchewan (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
Flag of Saskatchewan (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

REGINA — Despite some improvement in the fight against wildfires in northern Saskatchewan, evacuees will spend the long weekend away from home.

The provincial government provided an update Friday morning as three wildfires continue to burn in the area around Pelican Narrows, near the Manitoba boundary.

“All of those fires are stable — we have no reports of any community or critical infrastructure that have been burned by the fire at this time,” said Steve Roberts, head of wildfire management.

“We’ve also secured the flank of the Preston fire that is immediately is the closest piece to Pelican Narrows.”

According to the province, around 150 personnel are working on the fires, including more than seven pieces of heavy equipment and more than 15 aircraft support.

As of Friday, there were 2,100 evacuees registered with Saskatchewan’s emergency services.

People were coming from four communities including Birch Portage, Jan Lake, Sandy Bay and Pelican Narrows, where around 350 people remain in the community.

More than 900 of those have evacuated to Saskatoon, while the rest are seeking shelter in Prince Albert.

Duane McKay, the executive director of emergency management, said access has been restricted to the community of Sandy Bay, where a number of people remain.

McKay said the province sent a truck there full of food staples, such as vegetables and eggs, worth around $4,500.

As of Friday, there’s a fire ban in place for all parks and recreation sites south of the Churchill River.

Deanna Valentine with Emergency Social Services said with school starting next week, there are questions as to how it is all going to work with students and teachers displaced.

Valentine said after discussions with the Prince Albert Grand Council, they won’t worry about next week.

But if it goes beyond that, then arrangements will be made to bring in substitute teachers to Prince Albert and Saskatoon to areas where classrooms could be set up so the students could begin their school year.