A state of emergency in the rural municipalities of Canwood and Shellbrook has been lifted after a forest fire in the area was brought under control, officials reported Wednesday morning.

Residents in the two communities had been threatened by fire and smoke since the weekend. For a time on Monday, a major highway, No. 55, had been closed.

Officials said the route is open, but advised that a new speed limit, of 60 km/h, had been posted on some sections. They said if drivers do not heed that speed limit, the highway could be shut down again to traffic.

The affected areas are roughly 50 kilometres west of Prince Albert.

As of late Tuesday, officials said that about 1,900 hectares of wooded area had burned.

Fire risk high

Meanwhile, provincial fire control officials reported Wednesday that the risk of forest fires was classified as "high" across the entire northern region.

They said that 259 fires had been observed so far this year.

Officials said there were a total of eight active fires as of Wednesday after five earlier fires had been extinguished, and six new fires broke out.

In the Prince Albert area, they said three fires were burning but were under control.

Further north, near the community of Buffalo Narrows, officials said a fire in that area was burning and considered out of control.