Saskatoon

University of Saskatchewan study tracks risk to family ties due to wildfires

A study at the University of Saskatchewan suggests more care must be taken to protect family and culture when wild fire threatens northern communities.

Suggests risk models should include social and cultural factors

The Egg fire sears a peninsula jutting out onto Lac La Ronge, on July 3, 2015. (Submitted by Scott Knudsen, Northscape Photography )

A study at the University of Saskatchewan suggests more care must be taken to protect family and culture when wild fire threatens northern communities.

The study, by Julia Scharbach and James Waldram in the department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the U of S, takes a look at the experiences of the Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation who were evacuated due to wildfire back in 2011.

The findings are particularly relevant this year, as an unprecedented number of people were forced to flee their homes this summer as forest fires raged across northern Saskatchewan.

The authors suggest that "the irony is clear: the disaster of which many residents spoke pertains not to the threat of wildfire, but to the efforts to protect them from it.

The study makes a number of recommendations and calls for officials to reimagine the concept of risk to include the potential impact of an evacuation on the cultural and social fabric of a community. 

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