SASKATOON -- Heavy rain in northern Saskatchewan has helped to slow the wildfire in the Fort à la Corne provincial forest east of Prince Albert, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) says.

"We are seeing the fire in a much better state, its activity has reduced smoke which has allowed us to make much more progress on the ground both in constructing fire guards and fire direct attacks,” said Steve Roberts, SPSA acting vice-president of operations.

According to the SPSA the fire has been mapped at just over 41,000 hectares of land, 1,000 more than Wednesday’s total.

The rain in the region helped fire crews to gain access to the west side of fire which is currently the most active area due to high winds.

“As long as the fire does not react to high gusty winds which would change some of our tactics, then we can make good progress. We had great progress yesterday and we will likely see much better progress today,” said Roberts.

Eight First Nation communities are helping to contain the blaze, including Beardy's and Okemasis Cree Nation, Little Red River Cree Nation, Sturgeon Lake First Nation, James Smith Cree Nation, Wahpeton Dakota Nation and Montreal Lake Cree Nation.

Six helicopters, 12 bulldozers, crew trucks, engines and water tankers are being used to help extinguish the blaze.

The agency says the forecast for the next couple days is promising and could help contain it.