Active wildfires in Saskatchewan increase to 129, fire ban continues

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency provided another update to the wildfire situation in the province.

With 129 active wildfires currently burning in the province, the SPSA says the provincial fire ban will remain in effect for at least the next couple of days.

Vice-President of Operations Steve Roberts says they are currently evaluating the need for out-of-province support for fighting the fires.

“Currently, that’s based on our fire activity and fires being in a condition that we can safely staff them with ground firefighters,” Roberts said. “When we have an opportunity, we are recirculating our (staff), so all of our provincial firefighters and community firefighters are already engaged in the effort. If we need more resources — whether they be local or national resources — we will seek those out and bring them in.”

When it comes to air quality, Roberts says air quality reports are given to impacted communities to ensure residents who may experience difficulty breathing due to the smoke can take precautions, and even evacuate if needed.

“They may also do what’s usually called sheltered place — they stay where they are, they take measures like staying indoors with the windows closed if they can — and in some cases we will actually help them set up a, if you would, clean air shelter, maybe in their gymnasium of the school, or an ice rink,” Roberts said. “It just gives people that sort of respite from the smoke.”

Roberts says there are nine more active wildfires than there were Wednesday.

“That’s a result of new starts from lightning primarily,” Roberts said. “We have been able to contain a number of fires since (Wednesday) as well, so it’s somewhat of a (situation where) we get some contained, but we get some new ones. There was fire growth on a number of fires, but some of them were contained, and did not grow because of our effort.”

When it comes to rain in the forecast, Roberts says very minimal amounts are expected, and lightning strikes that come with the rain could spark even more fires.

58 people have been evacuated and housed in North Battleford for the time being.

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