Sask. fire evacuees allowed to return home, but some buildings lost
People affected by the Klyne fire west of Southend in northeast Saskatchewan are now allowed to return home.
The evacuation order remains in effect for medically vulnerable residents, including elders and children under the age of two, who left the area due to poor air quality from smoke.
Chief Karen Bird of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation says now that health care staff can safely return to the community, they made the decision to let people return home.
Bird says some properties were lost to fire, including her cabin at Deep Bay.
“A lot of our reserve burned in the Mistiwasahk Indian Reserve and Deep Bay area. And you know it's sad to see so much of our reserve has burned,” said Bird.
Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) has listed the Klyne fire west of Southend as contained. The SEIR01 fire is ongoing and the Cunning fire is out.
Some cabins and homes in the area were lost to the fire.
Bird says she would like the province to provide more training to local people who could serve as initial attack crews to start fighting fires in the area when they first break out.
Bird says the SPSA indicated the wildfire fire was mostly likely caused by lightning.
“More training needs to be done for firefighters to fight - especially near our communities and on our reserve,” said Bird.
“It definitely would benefit the north for these initial attack groups and the firefighters to be brought back.”
She says concerns she’s heard expressed by evacuees are what will their homes look and smell like after being so close to a forest fire.
Local people have also reported to her that there have been three power outages in the last two weeks that have been longer than 12 hours so they are also concerned about spoiled food in deep freezers and fridges.
Values in range of the Kylne fire include area include Southend, Deep Bay and Mistahi Wasahk Indian Reserve, Reindeer Lake Recreation Site and Highway 102.
Saskatchewan’s active wildfire count so far this year is over double the five-year average, according to SPSA data. So far this year, the province has seen 424 wildfires.
As of July 26, there are 157 active wildfires in Saskatchewan.