Saskatchewan

Fire destroys houses on Standing Buffalo First Nation

On Sunday, a grass fire burned out of control and razed five houses.

5 houses flattened, 1 was someone's home: firefighter

A grass fire spread out of control and destroyed houses on Sunday at the Standing Buffalo First Nation. (Submitted by Mike Waldbauer)

Hot flames razed five houses on the Standing Buffalo First Nation after a grass fire moved across the land on Sunday. 

"There was the one house that someone did live in that one burned to the ground," said James Taylor, who has been a  volunteer fire fighter with the Fort Qu'Appelle Fire Department for about eight years. 

The other four houses that were destroyed were unoccupied older structures, he said. 

"There's lots of fuel there and lots of tall grass right up to these older houses that no one lives in, so once it got going it was easy." 

Taylor headed to the scene from Cupar and could see thick clouds of smoke billowing up through the valley. He said the fire was massive when he arrived. 

"It was actually hard to tell what was burning there was so much smoke."
Smoke filled the area near the Standing Buffalo First Nation on Sunday. (Submitted by Mike Waldbauer)

THe fire was reported around 2 p.m. CST Sunday. The Lipton Fire Department was already on site when Taylor arrived because the Fort Qu'Appelle Department had been in the process of responding to another call. 

Locals, area farmers and other volunteers worked alongside officials to help bring the fire under control. 

"There was probably a stretch for about three miles that was burning there and it was looking to keep going farther yet," Taylor said.

He said farmers used their equipment to build firebreaks. 

"They were a pretty huge help for us."

The grass fire season is likely to persist for at least another two to three weeks, he said. 

"It won't be done until we get some good rains and the grass starts to green up." 

The fire was the latest in a series of grass fires that have swept through the central and southern parts of the province.

Taylor said he responded to another fire on Friday at the Star Blanket First Nation and a home was lost there, as well. 

"There's definitely a risk to people's lives like when houses are being burned," Taylor said. "There's definitely a danger and risk there." 

Taylor said there were no reported injuries.