English Wildfire more than doubles in size in 24 hours, farmers call for more provincial help
Published Tuesday, May 19, 2020 8:07PM CST Last Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2020 8:08PM CST
SASKATOON -- A farmer whose property is being threatened by the English Wildfire is calling for more provincial resources.
Julie Reid said from what she can see, she believes there are not enough provincial crews being sent to help contain the flames.
“There's no wildfire crews out here, like boots on the ground guys. It's just the local fire department and farmers trying to keep ahead of this,” Reid, who farms in the Smeaton area, told CTV News.
The wildfire began in the Fort à la Corne provincial forest. Since Monday, the fire has doubled in size, to more than 37,000 hectares.
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“If it weren't for the local fire department, the volunteers and farmers in the area putting up fire guards I'm sure there would have been places burned down,” Reid said.
David Willness, a Smeaton-area farmer, said homeowners didn’t get a warning that the flames were moving towards them on the weekend.
“On Saturday, the warnings came out after the fire was already into the farmland,” Willness said.
“They were majorly behind on warning people.”
During a press conference in Regina on Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe said local crews are working alongside provincial resources.
"Our volunteers and local fire persons on the ground, north of Prince Albert in the Fort à la Corne area, are doing a large amount of work alongside our public safety agency,” Moe said.
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) said personnel and equipment – such as helicopters, air tankers and ground crews – are on-scene.
“The SPSA is also in contact with the RM of Torch River, the RM of Garden River, the James Smith Cree Nation and the community of Smeaton to advise them of changing fire and smoke conditions,” Chris Clemet, a spokesperson for the SPSA, wrote in an email to CTV News.
The SPSA said the English Wildfire is human-caused.