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Thousands still displaced by Sask. wildfires
Forest fires throw flames above a tree-line along highway 969 in southern Saskatchewan on June 29, 2015. (Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure)
Published Friday, July 3, 2015 8:37AM CST
As the forest fire situation in northern Saskatchewan continues to evolve, crews are making headway in their efforts to contain the flames, but the hot, dry, and windy weather is hampering their efforts.
The latest update has 116 wildfires burning in the province - 35 of which are still not contained.
The biggest fire is burning north of Prince Albert National Park. It is now 58-thousand hectares - just slightly smaller than the City of Edmonton
Crews from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and South Dakota have been flown in to help.
Crews on the frontlines are also getting some support from air tankers, which were previously grounded.
The Saskatchewan Red Cross says it’s the worst crisis they have seen in 30 years. More than 5,000 people from 51 communities have now been forced from their homes, and more people are traveling to shelters every day. Temporary shelters have been set up in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. Prince Albert is currently at capacity for evacuees, so most people are now being sent to Regina.
The Red Cross is coordinating efforts to provide food, shelter, and clothes for evacuees. The Salvation Army’s Prairie branch is also accepting clothing donations for evacuees.
Those who have been forced from their homes are now left wondering when they’ll be able to return home. Officials don’t know how many structures have been destroyed, but they say some cabins have burnt down.
Officials are recommending non-essential travel plans north of La Ronge be postponed, and the Ministry of Highways is asking people to stay out of the area.
Air quality has not improved much either, the entire province is still under a special air quality statement from Environment Canada.