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A forest fire burns near Stony Rapids, Sask. ((CBC))

The number of forest fires in Saskatchewandoubled Thursday and the total number of people evacuated from northern communities topped 800.

According to the provincial Environment Department, more than 100 fires were being fought, 58 of them new from the night before. Many were caused by lightning strikes.

Hundreds of people from Stony Rapids, Fond-du-Lac and other communities near the Northwest Territories border remained away from their homes.

The evacuees, many of them elderly or with health problems,were taken to Prince Albert, Lloydminster and Saskatoon.

Firefighters made good progress Thursday on a troublesome fire near Stony Rapids.

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Heavy smoke forced hundreds of area residents out of their communities. ((CBC))

Rain showers are helping to cool other forest fires burning in the Athabasca region.

Unfortunately, those same weather systems are bringing lightning to the North.