Saskatchewan

Dozens of aircraft dropping water, flame retardant

While thousands of feet are on the ground fighting wildfires, dozens of aircraft are also involved in the battle.

Water bombers, helicopters being used in battle against wildfires

RAW: Plane drops water on forest fire

7 years ago
Duration 0:17
RAW: The water bomber is one of the key tools in the battle against Saskatchewan wildfires. 0:17

While thousands of feet are on the ground fighting wildfires, dozens of aircraft are also involved in the battle. 

At one point, 50 helicopters had been deployed against northern Saskatchewan forest fires.

The Ministry of the Environment has also been using its water bomber fleet, which can drop about 5,000 litres at a time.

Other provinces, including Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, have also been lending their water bombers to Saskatchewan.

Today, Premier Brad Wall said Ontario will be sending two more air tankers to lend support. 

"The message to me from officials has been that we have a lot of air assets. Too many of them have been on the ground," Wall said of smoky conditions keeping fire fighting aricraft out of the skies.

"We really haven't had many days where we could deploy all the choppers we have, all the air tankers, all the retardant planes that we have.

"We're not needing more. We just need the cooperation to get them off the ground," he said.

The Premier offered his thanks and support to first responders and agencies pitching in to help fight the blazes and accommodate evacuees. 

"This is a province-wide effort of all levels of government, and of the Red Cross," he said.

"It's important we remember take the time to say 'thank you' to make this difficult time as pleasant as it possibly could be for people that are long, long way from home," Wall said.

Water bombers from Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador are helping Saskatchewan fight massive wildfires. (Corey Hardcastle/Government of Saskatchewan)

Meanwhile 450 Canadian soldiers were in La Ronge and Montreal Lake to help with the fires. Most will be directly helping with the fires, but approximately one hundred soldiers will take on support roles at the base camps.

"Everybody was pumped to go help the people of Saskatchewan," said Cpl. Sebastien Truksa, one of the soldiers dispatched to the province to help with the fires. 

"We know people are losing houses or have been threatened by that fire, so we want to make sure they feel as safe as possible as we can provide for them," he said.

Approximately 120 soldiers in Prince Albert are working in support roles, including maintenance on vehicles and equipment as well as communicating to troops on the ground.

"We need to know what's happening, where the fires are, give them orders, where to go", said Truksa.

Canadian soldiers in Prince Albert helping with the forest fire effort. (Ryan Pilon/CBC News)

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