Saskatoon

Forest fire surrounds La Ronge airport

Forest fires continue to creep closer to the town of La Ronge.

Mayor calls situation very serious

Forests fires were close to the airport in La Ronge, Sask., on the weekend. Local leaders and the provincial government have ordered the evacuation of some 7,900 people from the area. (Prince Albert Fire Department)

Forest fires continue to creep closer to the town of La Ronge.

According to Mayor Thomas Sierzycki, fire has surrounded the town's airport.

As well, fire is now on both sides of Highway 102, about three kilometres away from major residential areas.

"Currently, the fire threat is very serious to the community," said Sierzycki. 

Over the next few days, Sierzycki said crews will be looking at cutting a number of fire lines to slow the fire's progress.

"It's a serious situation, but some of the best men and women are on the frontlines trying to prevent anything from happening to our community," he said.

Municipal fire fighters from across southern Saskatchewan, including Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Humboldt and Warman are in La Ronge lending a helping hand.

The town also expects soldiers to arrive in the community by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Right now, fire fighting crews are continually driving through the area, making sure embers haven't started fires.

While things look dire now, Sierzycki is confident the fire will be stopped.

"I foresee us getting an upper hand on this fire in the near future," he said.

On the ground

Sitting at the La Ronge airport, firefighter Paul Ricklefs said the fire was 200 to 300 hundred metres from him.

"They're just hot spots right now," he said. "It's not contained, but they're working it right now. It's looking positive, but we're not out of the woods yet."

Ricklefs is busy shuttling water back and forth to load up aircraft that will fight the fire.

"There's a lot of activity going on right now," he said. "Lots of helicopters, hopefully we're going to get the water bombers ready this afternoon."

He admitted he hasn't thought much about the safety of his property.

"Honestly, I think most of us are just too busy to be concerned," he said. "We're just in the mindset of getting a job done and deal with the concern later on."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.