Saskatoon

Grandmother's Bay evacuees to go home; Saskatchewan forest fires stabilize

Residents of Grandmother's Bay can now go home. That was one of the good pieces of news to come from the province on Sunday.

Threats are controlled, some evacuees going home, reservists join the effort

A fire damaged boat sits on a trailer at Waden Bay, 380 kms North of Saskatoon, on Saturday July 11, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Residents of Grandmother's Bay can go home. That was one of several pieces of good news to come from the province on Sunday in its update on the forest fires. 

"It is not posing a direct threat to that community," said Duane McKay, Saskatchewan's provincial fire commissioner. Although those who are vulnerable to smoke or who have other health conditions will still likely stay away.

Grandmother's Bay, which is approximately 90 kilometres northeast of La Ronge, is the first community to have its evacuation order lifted. Approximately 130 people have received some form of assistance from the province, because they had to leave their homes due to fire threats.

The direct fire threat in other communities may be over, but provincial officials said there's a need to ensure other conditions, such as safe drinking water, electricity and medical services, are in place before they lift other evacuation orders. 

Currently, 9,760 people are receiving services from the province, including shelter. 

McKay said every community will be evaluated over the next day or two to see how provincial resources can help return people safely and how long it might take. 

Fires stable today, humidity helping

Many of the fires are stable, but there are still 124 still burning in the north. 

Steve Roberts, with the ministry of the environment, said humid conditions were helping on Sunday. 

Showers were forecasted for Monday.

The fires near La Ronge are still considered a threat to the community. Smoke conditions west of La Ronge meant that air operations in La Loche and Buffalo Narrows were on hold on Saturday, continuing on Sunday. 

In addition to new support from reservists and Canadian forces, 59 specialists from the U.S. have been deployed to help with the situation in Saskatchewan. Roberts said they are trained to manage oversight of specific fire operations. 

Destruction in English Bay, Wadin Bay

A burned out cabin is shown at Waden Bay, 380 kms North of Saskatoon, on Saturday July 11, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Meanwhile, some people will be returning to the burnt-out shells of cabins.

Images taken on Saturday showed some of the destruction in English Bay and Wadin Bay. 

So far, 66 structures have been lost to fires in the province. 

A burned out cabin is shown at Waden Bay, 380 kms North of Saskatoon, on Saturday July 11, 2015. (Gareth Dilliston/Pool/Canadian Press)

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