Saskatchewan·Photos

Regina man thankful for help that saved his northern Saskatchewan cabin

Russ Richards couldn't believe his eyes when he visited his cabin on Nemeiben Lake on July 1. What was once a beautiful, serene landscape was now scorched and ominous.

Russ Richards' cabin at Nemeiben Lake, near La Ronge, stands amid fire destruction

Russ Richards couldn't believe his eyes when he visited his cabin on Nemeiben Lake near La Ronge on July 1. What was once a beautiful, serene landscape was now scorched and ominous.

"Everything was burned completely, right around the whole perimeter of the cabin," said Richards. "You look at it and it almost looks like some kind of a military zone that was bombed because [there were] just little plumes all over the place, the destruction of this fire is amazing. I've seen areas cabins were on where there is absolutely nothing left, like any aluminum, it melts aluminum, it's just really something to see, it really is."

Russ Richards looks at pictures of his cabin on Nemeiben Lake that were taken before the area was ravaged by wildfire. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Richards had travelled to his cabin three weeks ago to set up sprinklers to protect his cabin from the wildfires burning in the area. At that time he wasn't too concerned because the fire was miles away and burning in the other direction. However, when Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) set up more sprinklers on June 24, Richards knew there might be trouble.

The fire ate its way through the area where Richards' cabin was located on June 28. Luckily, Richards' neighbours turned on the sprinklers for him, which saved his cabin and the trees within about a 50-foot radius.

It looked like some kind of military zone that was bombed.- Russ Richards

Richards said after he finished attending flare ups near his cabin, the heavy smoke in the area made it difficult to return home. The visibility was such that he could not even see 100 yards ahead of him while travelling by boat on the lake.

"I had to GPS the whole route out because we couldn't see any islands for marks to get out," said Richards. "I GPS'd us out the whole way, it took about two hours to do the 12 miles, but we got out safely." 

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