Crews from Buckland Fire and Rescue and the Lakeland and District Fire Department were called in to assist the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) with fighting wildfires in the Southend area on Saturday.
A five person crew from the Lakeland and District Fire Department spent most of Saturday installing sprinklers on structures near one of several wildfires near the community.
Meanwhile, a three member crew from Buckland Fire and Rescue responded with two trucks to help protect highway camps just south of the Southend Junction.
As of Saturday morning, the Klyne Fire west of Southend was within 3 km of the community. Air support, helicopter support and fire crews were on scene fighting it. The SPSA has closed the Hwy 102 and Hwy 905 junction to Southend.
Air quality continues to be a concern with 145 wildfires active across the province, 24 of which are not contained. Shifts in the wind will push smoke southwards into central and west-central parts of the province starting Saturday night and continuing into Sunday.
As of Saturday night, Environment Canada lists Prince Albert’s air quality as “Low Risk,” but they expect it to climb to “High Risk” by Sunday. In Buffalo Narrows, air quality is “High Risk” as of Saturday night, with an expected increase to “Very High Risk” coming on Sunday.
Environment Canada has issued special air quality warnings for communities as far south as Outlook, Kindersley, Rosetown and Humboldt, among others.
The latest fire update delivered Saturday morning showed eight wildfires contained, with 86 others undergoing assessment. The SPSA is protecting property at 24 locations.
Other fires of note include the 387.1 hectare Mule Fire near Stanley Mission and the Rapid River Dam. The SPSA reported it was within seven km of the community on Saturday morning, but was slowly running into natural barriers. Helicopters and fire crews were working on the fire Saturday morning.
The SPSA reported the 30,000 hectare Harding Fire north of Smeaton was 500 meters away from Hwy 106. Crews continue to build fire guards in the area, with help from helicopters.
The 624 hectare Rabbit Fire burning south of La Ronge has crossed Hwy 2 North and Junction 165. Helicopter crews were suppressing and assessing it Saturday morning.
The 26,107 hectare Lock Fire west of Dillon is within 3.5 km of Michel Village. Fire crews are working on hotspots and reinforcing fireguards.