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Sask. wildfire flare-up forces evacuations

More people have been forced to flee northern Saskatchewan communities due to wildfire smoke.

The village of La Loche declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon. The community ordered evacuations for higher-risk individuals. Children under five and pregnant women were also included in the order.

In a notice to the community, the village also said others could choose to evacuate voluntarily.

Buses were scheduled to leave the village Wednesday morning to transport evacuees to Regina.

Nearby Clearwater River Dene Nation also ordered evacuations for high-risk individuals.

Buses started loading up with evacuees just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to an update from the community on social media. 

The buses were heading to a hotel in Cold Lake, according to the update.

In another update, shared late Wednesday morning, the Frist Nation said nine dozers will build a fire guard to the west of the community.

While a recent rainy weather system helped in the fight against the province's wildfires, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) anticipates the risk of wildfire will remain high in the northwest for at least another day.

According to the SPSA, there were 20 active wildfires in the province as of early Wednesday afternoon. Eight of the blazes were considered uncontained.

In an update to media, the SPSA said it continues to support around 264 evacuees from Patuanak and English River, Dillon, Michel Village and St. George’s Hill.

Around 90 people are currently evacuating from the village of La Loche for Regina, the SPSA said.

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