Northern fires force evacuations to Prince Albert, Saskatoon

Smoke and road closures in Northern Saskatchewan have led to evacuations in Pelican Narrows and in the small village of Birch Portage.

Four fires are burning in the area, with three classified as uncontained. A fourth fire is classified as protecting property, where crews are focusing on preventing cabins and infrastructure from burning. A fifth fire, on the border north of Flin Flon, is classified as contained.

According to an early afternoon press release, Emergency Social Services is working with the Canadian Red Cross and other partners to provide emergency assistance to people from several northern communities due to smoke and road closures.

People with an evacuation order are being housed in shelters, hotels and with family or friends.

Twelve residents from Birch Portage are staying in a Prince Albert hotel.

About 150 “health priority” residents and their families are being transported from Pelican Narrows to a congregate shelter in Saskatoon. Evacuees with health concerns will be put up in hotels.

Evacuees receive assistance in the form of food, clothing, shelter, hygiene items, referrals and other necessities. They receive three meals per day at shelters, as well as snacks. Daily activities, such as games, movies and music are also organized within the shelters. A media availability is expected later today.

There are currently 34 wildfires burning in the province. A total of 29 are larger than 100 hectares.  In addition to the fires burning in the Pelican Narrows area, there are several fires burning in a small area in north central Saskatchewan, southeast of Cree Lake.

More to come.

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