Wildfires in northern Saskatchewan are moving quickly and threatening more  communities.

In a six-hour period Thursday, the north was hit by five thousand lightning strikes, which sparked 42 new fires.  A total of 71 wildfires are currently active in the province.  One of the wildfires now spans over 500 hectares.

A complete evacuation has been recommended for the communities of Waden Bay, English bay and Sucker River, as well as some areas around Nemeiben Lake. Officials are expecting about a thousand evacuees.  Shelters are being prepared in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

The Ministry of the Environment is still recommending no non-essential travel to the La Ronge area because of extreme wildfire hazards.

The travel warning includes Air Ronge, Sucker River, Wadin Bay, Stanley Mission and Nemeiben. The ministry also recommends no travel north of La Ronge unless absolutely necessary.

A fire ban is still in effect for areas in northern Saskatchewan, including Candle Lake and Meadow Lake provincial parks.

There have already been 436 reported fires this year, compared to 178 at this time last year. 

Fire officials have been calling in additional resources from Manitoba and Quebec, and they are reaching out to the U.S. for manpower, aircraft and equipment.