Smoke biggest risk for those remaining in Pelican Narrows, Sask.
More than 140 firefighters, 15 helicopters devoted to 3 wildfires in area
People remaining at the northern community of Pelican Narrows, Sask., are safe, and can still leave the community if they choose to do so, say provincial officials.
On Wednesday, the community issued a mandatory evacuation order due to three large wildfires burning in the area. Many people have left their homes for shelters and hotels in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
There are still roughly 1,000 people left in the community.
While the only highway out of the community has officially been closed, emergency personnel are escorting convoys through.
"We are piloting them through," said Commissioner of Fire Safety Duane McKay. "We are sending a vehicle with them to get through safely."
Once people leave, they won't be allowed back in.
"They will be stopped at the roadblock," said McKay. "It's to ensure that we're not increasing our risk."
Personnel and equipment
Fires have crossed the highway in a number of areas. Crews are also working to protect power lines and stations in the area.
So far, no structures have been reported burned.
The Granite fire, located 14 kilometres south of Pelican Narrows, is one of the most worrisome fires, and is close to the resort village of Jan Lake and the village of Birch Portage. The fire is 600 square kilometres.
Fifteen helicopters have also been sent to the area, as well as four pieces of heavy equipment.
Sandy Bay state of emergency
Heavy smoke from forest fires has also forced 70 people from their homes in the northern community of Sandy Bay, Sask.
The community declared a state of emergency Wednesday night.
People with lung conditions, elderly people and children have been transported out of the community. They were driven to hotels in Prince Albert, where they were greeted by members of the Red Cross.
On Wednesday, the province's Wildfire Management Branch said there was no significant rain in the forecast for the area for at least a week. A mandatory fire ban is in place.
Sandy Bay is located 600 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.