Fire Fighting in Canada

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Hundreds evacuated in Saskatchewan

June 30, 2015, La Ronge, Sask. - Wildfires in northern Saskatchewan have forced at least 1,300 people from their homes.

June 30, 2015
By The Canadian Press

Duane McKay, the province’s Commissioner of Emergency Management and Fire Safety, said Monday that 14 communities around La Ronge and La Loche had been evacuated.

He didn’t have a total number of how many people were out of their homes, since some are staying with family and friends and haven’t registered as evacuees.

Deanna Wysoskey, co-ordinator of Emergency Social Services, said her department was helping out 1,347 people at hotels, recreation centres and high schools in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and North
Battleford. More spaces were being made available at the University of Regina.

“There will likely be more people coming out in the next few days because the situation is not resolving yet,” she said.

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There were 116 fires burning in the province as of Monday morning.

Steve Roberts with Saskatchewan’s wildfire management department said 550 firefighters were soon to be assisted by crews from Ontario.

The largest fire was threatening the hamlet of Weyakwin, north of Montreal Lake.

No fires had destroyed any buildings.

Heavy smoke was drifting across the province and Environment Canada has issued numerous air quality advisories. Roberts said smoke was also coming from fires in Alberta.

Some highway sections near La Ronge were closed, but emergency vehicles were attempting to escort convoys through the haze, said Joel Cherry with Saskatchewan Highways.

“Smoke is causing visibility issues to some extent on nearly every highway in northern Saskatchewan, and conditions can change rapidly there depending on the area of the fire and wind.”

He advised against unnecessary travel to the affected areas.