Ottawa sending more beds, blankets for Sask. wildfire evacuees

With evacuees from Saskatchewan wildfires continuing to stream into emergency shelters, the federal government is sending more supplies.

More than 13,000 forced out of their homes in Saskatchewan, Alberta

The Egg fire, one of Saskatchewan's biggest in recent weeks, sears a peninsula jutting out onto Lac La Ronge, on July 3, 2015. (Submitted by Scott Knudsen, Northscape Photography )

As evacuees from Saskatchewan wildfires continue to stream into emergency shelters, the federal government is sending more supplies.

The government announced Wednesday it has shipped more than 6,500 blankets and 4,000 beds to evacuee centres in Regina, Prince Albert, La Ronge and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan and High Level and Cold Lake in Alberta.

It's also sending gowns, pillows and towels. The items come out of the national emergency strategic stockpile, a news release from the federal government said.

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Rob Clarke, M.P. for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, said "They've also made the acknowledgement that extra emergency facilities, doctors and nurses will be available from Health Canada."

Meanwhile, Prince Albert M.P. Randy Hoback said Canadian military troops will be a big help on the front lines.

"I think the thing we should focus on is they're here to help and they're doing everything they can to help alleviate the pressures of the fires that are creating in the north. I know a lot of the people in the evacuation shelters are happy to see them here," Hoback said.

Saskatchewan's Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Schofield and Canadian Governor General David Johnston toured the evacuee centre at Evraz Place in Regina on Wednesday to meet with evacuees and support workers.

"I've never been so proud to be from Saskatchewan," Schofield said of support workers and volunteers at the evacuation centre.

Governor General David Johnston and Saskatchewan's Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Schofield speak to media in Regina after touring an evacuation centre housing evacuees displaced by wildfires in Saskatchewan's north. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

"What an amazing group of people. We have the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, City of Regina, the Public Library and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Everybody has contributed to this effort," she said.

"I'm so impressed. It touches you to see the families and the disruption in their lives," said Johnston. 

"I think the solidarity and concern of all Canadians goes out to these families," said the Governor General. 

More than 13,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the past three weeks due to forest fires and smoke, with the vast majority from northern Saskatchewan.

The area burned in Saskatchewan so far this season is 745,000 hectares, or 7,450 square kilometres, an area slightly larger than the entire Greater Toronto Area.

As of midday Wednesday, 113 fires were active, seven of which are new. Year to date, that's 592 fires, double last year's 213 fires. 

Steve Roberts of the Environment Ministry reported that fires Tuesday were quiet with "no significant changes to fires of concern," which allowed for good flying weather to contain small fires and areas of concern.

Roberts noted that the 600 firefighters are on fire line are being joined by 360 Canadian Military members. 

Troops are helping to fight fires in the Weyakwin and La Ronge areas. 

Among those 113 active fires, Roberts reported 32 are larger than 1000 hectares - 10 square kilometres. 


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