Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall experiences fire zone destruction
More than 100 forest fires burning in the province's north
As more than 100 forest fires continue to burn, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was in the north today seeing how people in the region are getting by.
Wall met with community leaders and firefighting crews at the provincial fire base in Weyakwin and La Ronge.
"Thank you very, very much for what you're doing," Wall said. "It's been days and days you've been at it ... some days, like two days ago and probably today, without a lot of air support. So what's happening on the ground is huge."
He was in the region earlier this week, but a planned airplane tour didn't get off the ground due to heavy smoke.
Friday's flying conditions were better, so a helicopter took government officials around the fire zone in the afternoon.
"It's been stabilized and I've just been on the line over here and saw how close it came," Wall said.
With 107 fires burning, thousands of people have been forced from their homes.
Evacuee numbers continue to grow
Just under 5,200 evacuees have registered with the Red Cross and the provincial government.
More have left their homes on their own and are staying with family or friends.
Fire officials told reporters Friday about half the fires — 57 — are larger than 100 hectares. Twenty of those threaten communities in the north.
Around 600 firefighters and 200 support people are fighting the blazes.
Some rain is expected Saturday, but on the west side of the province, skies are expected to be clear with warmer temperatures.
At 1 p.m. on Friday, it was 31 C in La Ronge and 28 in La Loche.