Many communities throughout southern Saskatchewan were without power Tuesday night as a record-breaking wind storm blew through southern Saskatchewan. fanning flames from wild fires which sparked in the late afternoon.
Residents who were evacuated from Leader and Burstall due to the fires have been allowed to go home.
Officials say the Tompkins fire is also under control. Gusty winds made the situation more dire as firefighters and other crews fought to bring blazes under control.
Jonathon Tremblay with SaskPower says the larger cities were also hit – and in some cases, hit hard.
“Most of Moose Jaw and most of Regina at one point in the night certainly lost power,” Tremblay said. “Notably in Regina, the water treatment facility was off for a few hours. Thankfully, we were able to find the problem and fix it. We’ve seen damage everywhere from Weyburn to Tisdale and Yorkton and most everywhere else.”
Tremblay says the utility has been keeping a close eye on any damage which occurred overnight.
“We have been keeping a close eye on our infrastructure,” Tremblay said. “We know the storm has damaged some of our bigger lines. Also, in the area of the national parks, in Cypress Hills, we’ve had to cut proactively the power there. We were seeing a lot of trees fall on lines.”
Concern was, according to Trembly, sparks from any more downed power lines could ignite new blazes.
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Tremblay says, thanks to reliable weather forecasting, the utility was ready for the wind storm as well as the unexpected wildfires which ignited yesterday.
Tremblay says they had a game plan ready.
“Because, we saw the forecast and we mobilized everyone we could,” Tremblay said. “We brought in contractors to help us take trees off lines. However, most forecasts like this, it may hit, or it may not hit as hard. But I don’t think we expected it to hit that hard — and everywhere where they said.”