Sask. considering national support to fight over a hundred northern wildfires
PRINCE ALBERT -- The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) is looking ahead to potentially bringing in firefighters across Canada as it continues to grapple with over 100 wildfires burning in the north.
In a media update on Thursday morning, vice-president of operations Steve Roberts said the agency has already brought in firefighters who are mostly working in their local areas.
“We have made some inquiries about availability in Canada, but at this time, we have not activated any import of crews into the province,” he said.
Roberts said the SPSA is balancing its resources between fighting larger fires close to remote communities and working to extinguish new fire starts, which are mostly caused by lightning.
“We have a contingent of staff and helicopters available to initiate action on some of these new fires when they start and when they’re small,” he said.
As of Thursday, there are 129 active wildfires in Saskatchewan, up from 122 on Wednesday. That brings the total number of wildfires this year up to 367, over 150 above the five-year average.
Joan Hrycyk, director of emergency and crisis support, said the SPSA is providing services to 58 evacuees in North Battleford from Dillon, St. George’s Hill, Michel Village and Buffalo River Dene Nation. There are also evacuees in Lloydminster, she said.
Additionally, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council said the Canadian Red Cross is helping with a full community evacuation of about 600 people from Buffalo River.
Roberts said weather likely won’t be on their side in the next few days – with the exception of the far north in Black Lake and Stony Rapids, where the temperature is expected to drop.
The most current information on the wildfire situation in Saskatchewan is available on the SPSA website.