Saskatchewan

Residents upset that controlled burn in Prince Albert National Park went awry

Some Saskatchewan residents are upset after Parks Canada staff started a controlled burn in the Prince Albert National Park that quickly became uncontrolled.

Fire is now 31,400 hectares in size

Parks Canada says all resources have been sent to fight the fire at Prince Albert National Park, which has now grown to more than 29,000 hectares in size. (Parks Canada)

Some Saskatchewan residents are upset after Parks Canada staff started a controlled burn in the Prince Albert National Park that quickly became uncontrolled.

The Rabbit fire has grown to more than 31,400 hectares in size since May 4, when the burn was started under more "favourable" conditions. Parks Canada said it was for "ecological" reasons.

"Why a controlled burn at this time of the year, with virtually no rainfall that's been recorded since our spring melt?" asked Prince Albert resident Martin Ring. 

All resources have been deployed to fight the growing blaze, including 184 firefighters from Alberta, Ontario, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Parks Canada field units.

In addition to the Rabbit fire, there are 15 other fires burning on provincial Crown land, eight of which are contained.

Bryan Lee, who lives near the Fish Lake Métis heritage site, said he has had to wear a mask outside due to the heavy smoke in the area. 

"A serious look should be taken at the policy because it's been ongoing now and they've had problems in the last couple of years," Lee said. 

He added he has expressed concern to the national park superintendent in the past, but feels he was ultimately ignored.  

"I don't know why they decide they have to burn when you have such extreme fire hazard warnings."

With files from Jennifer Quesnel

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