Saskatoon

Pinehouse Lake residents stay behind to look after community

A small group from Pinehouse Lake say forest fires aren't scaring them away from their community.

Around 140 people still in northern village, helping fire fighters

This picture of a fire located across the lake from Pinehouse was taken June 25. (Faye Boyd/Facebook)

A group of people from Pinehouse Lake say forest fires aren't scaring them away from their community.

The northern community has been cut off from electricity since Friday. The main highway leading out of the community is also closed.

While most of the village's population of 1,450 have left their homes for evacuation centres, a core group of around 140 people are toughing it out through the smoke and the flames.

"We've decided that we're going to stay put and stay close to the community," said Caroline Ratt-Misponas. "Just in case we need to help each other to keep each other safe."

Staying in the village with her husband and their 19-year-old son, Ratt-Misponas has kept herself busy, mainly helping out fire crews.

- Caroline Ratt-Misponas

"Some of the food prep and dish washing has been mainly my duty," she said. "Yesterday I was washing some of the firefighters' clothing. You just do what you need to do."

Due to the lack of power, many perishable items in freezers and fridges have gone bad. The food stocks are low. But the community has come up with an innovative solution.

"People that are out there in Saskatoon, La Ronge, Prince Albert, they've been really gracious," she said. "They've phoned to the village hall to tell us that we can go into their homes to salvage whatever food there is."

With the main road blocked off, locals have started making unofficial plans if the fires get any closer.

"If we have to, we'll go on the boat," she said. "And head somewhere where it's not so smoky. Not so dangerous."

This is day seven of the community's evacuation notice.

Pinehouse Lake is located about 200 kilometres north-west of La Ronge.