Saskatchewan

Fires in northern Saskatchewan lead to evacuations, fire ban

Northern Saskatchewan is on edge as forest fires have led to evacuations of some communities as well as an overall ban on camp fires.

A local state of emergency has been declared for the community of Sucker River

This fire is located west of Wadin Bay and Sucker River. (Submitted by Scott Knudsen)

Northern Saskatchewan is on edge as forest fires have led to evacuations of some communities as well as an overall ban on camp fires.

Officials are also recommending people to avoid travel north of La Ronge, Sask. 

On Friday afternoon, Highway 102 — a major route into Saskatchewan's north — was closed for several hours due to the proximity of a fire.

It was opened again, late in the day, but officials said the status could change with very little notice. And access road, from Highway 102 to Nemeiban Lake, was still closed.

A fire ban has been reinstated for all parks within northern forests. The ban includes fireworks on Canada Day.

Tammy Cook-Searson, Chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, said they are organizing a voluntary evacuation of people from Sucker River and the area. Residents of English Bay, Wadin Bay, and Sucker River were being asked to leave their homes. About 1,000 people are in those communities.

As of Friday night Cook-Searson said that 338 people from Sucker River had relocated from the community and were staying in Prince Albert, Saskatoon or with family or friends in La Ronge.

There are some people still in the community to look after essential services and monitor homes and buildings.

Meanwhile, all people from Sikachu Lake and Clam Lake Bridge (areas which were previously threatened by fire) have returned home.

According to provincial officials, as of mid-morning Friday lightning strikes had generated around 40 new fires in the province, bringing the total number of fires to 70. Over half of those are not contained and are burning wild.

About 1,000 people have been evacuated because of fires like this near Sucker River. (Submitted by Scott Knudsen)

"We're praying for rain without lightning," Cook-Searson said.

On Thursday, the Nemeiben Lake area was evacuated

Heat wave creating problems

This photo was taken June 25 when Kyla McKenzie and Tammy Cook-Searson were on their way to Sucker River from La Ronge. (Tammy Cook-Searson/Facebook)

The heat wave across province is bringing with it unwanted thunderstorms. 

There have been over 436 fires so far this year compared to only 178 last year.

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