Pelican Narrows evacuees likely stuck for a while

Pelican Narrows needs rain, but the forecast calls for nothing but hot, dry weather.

Hot, dry weather forecast will make firefighting difficult, says government

Smoke billows from a wildfire in northern Saskatchewan. (Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure)

Pelican Narrows needs rain, but the forecast calls for nothing but hot, dry weather.

Friday afternoon temperatures reached 27 C and the same is expected Saturday. With a wind exceeding 20 kilometres per hour, those are the worst possible conditions for fire fighting, they said.

"We're not seeing and significant weather turns for the next four days and beyond," said Steve Roberts, executive director of Saskatchewan's wildfire management program.

That means evacuees who fled the area's wildfires won't be going home any time soon, they said.

"Our goal is to get people back in their homes as soon as possible, [but] we have to ensure it's safe to do so," said Duane McKay, executive director of emergency management and fire safety.

It's been 11 days since several hundred of the most vulnerable residents evacuated. The total has now swelled to more than 2,700 in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.

What's been dubbed the "Granite" fire is the largest of several wildfires, at 88,000 hectares. It's more than 30 kilometres in diameter.

That's why they say evacuees may be stuck where they are for a while.

Government official thanks host cities

Deana Valentine, emergency services coordinator for the Ministry of Social Services thanked the people of Saskatoon and Regina for welcoming the evacuees.

Valentine said volunteers and staff from the government, the Red Cross and elsewhere have worked hard to make the experience as tolerable as possible for those uprooted.

Valentine also thanked the people of Saskatoon and Prince Albert for hosting the evacuees.

She said residents have stopped by a Saskatoon soccer centre and other locations to ask how they can help.
Also Friday, Desnethé — Missinippi — Churchill River MP Georgina Jolibois said in a statement that more federal resources should be devoted to fighting the fire.

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said firefighting is provincial jurisdiction. That said, there are plans underway to improve training for firefighters in affected First Nations communities.