Saskatchewan wildfires: The situation as of Tuesday

The forests of northern Saskatchewan continue to burn, although officials say the situation has stabilized in that the number of fires has remained roughly the same in recent days and the extent of the fires has not substantially increased.

125 active fires in northern Saskatchewan

From earlier in July, a firefighter at English Bay in the La Ronge area. (Twitter)

The forests of northern Saskatchewan continue to burn, although officials say the situation has stabilized in that the number of fires has remained roughly the same in recent days and the extent of the fires has not substantially increased.

On Tuesday, officials provided an overview of what they are facing, noting that about 480,000 hectares of forest has gone up in smoke since the start of the 2015 fire season.

Although the fires haven't grown, they're still burning, Steve Roberts with the province's wildfire management branch, said at the Tuesday briefing.

Roberts noted that areas of the far north had received significant rain but only one to three millimetres have fallen in other areas.

"It will help us moderate fire behaviour but it is not a significant amount that is going to change the size of these fires
or the scope," he said.

There were 125 fires burning in the province as of Tuesday morning. Eighty-six homes, most of them seasonal cabins, have been destroyed.

More than 13,000 people have left their communities in the north, following partial or full evacuation notices.

Just over 10,000 have registered at a number of evacuation shelters in other Saskatchewan cities, the majority are in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.

There are more than 1,500 firefighters in the region, including military crews. Additional firefighters are receiving safety training.

As part of the effort, crews have used every available sprinkler head in Saskatchewan as well as 850 more brought in from other places. In some cases, the sprinklers are deployed to protect a vulnerable structure. Elsewhere, crews can link the sprinklers together to protect a community.

Officials noted that a thunderstorm rolled through the area Monday night and — while it was a significant storm — the lightning came with enough rain so that only two new fires were ignited.

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