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Home News Firefighters work overnight to contain McCafe Fire, Stanley Mission begins general evacuation

Firefighters work overnight to contain McCafe Fire, Stanley Mission begins general evacuation

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Firefighters work overnight to contain McCafe Fire, Stanley Mission begins general evacuation
The community of Stanley Mission began a general evacuation on Friday as firefighters worked overnight to contain the McCafe Fire. -- Photo from the LLRIB Emergency Response Facebook page.

Residents in Stanley Mission began a general evacuation on Friday after fire crews worked all night to protect the community from the McCafe Fire.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) said 1,113 evacuees registered in Stanley Mission before leaving. They’re headed to Prince Albert and Saskatoon, with shelter in Regina ready on standby. An unknown number will stay with family members.

“Last night (Thursday) was really scary, with the fire coming to the community,” Cook-Searson said. “It was just really heavy. It was just a huge wildfire, and the winds made it a really challenging day.”

LLRIB emergency management officer Maurice Ratt sent out an evacuation notice late Thursday night, but residents didn’t begin evacuations until Friday due to fire along the only highway out of the community.

Residents were told to pack for five days, and all Stanley Mission firefighters and emergency personnel were called in to protect the community.

Local firefighters were joined by 75-80 members from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency who set up sprinkler systems and hoses to create a safety barrier and raise the humidity levels. The SPSA also did a successful aerial ignition back-burn, which helped crews push the fire away from the community.


No buildings in Stanley Mission have been damaged so far, although an unknown number of trapper cabins around the community burned. Cook-Searson said the efforts of firefighters who worked through the night helped make a difference, along with a change in the weather.

“The fire coming for the community was really scary, but when the winds calmed down and it shifted a bit away from the community, it provided some relief,” she said.

Fire crews from La Ronge, Grandmothers Bay, and Sucker River have arrived to aid fire suppression efforts.

Ratt wrote in a Facebook post Friday afternoon that the fire was “still an aggressive fire”, but crews were having success in keeping the highway open.

The SPSA listed the McCafe Fire as roughly 11,426 ha in size as of Friday morning. Type 1, 2 and 3 crews have all been mobilized, as have heavy equipment, helicopters and air tankers. It’s currently burning south of the community.

On Friday evening, Cook-Searson said the next 12 hours would go a long way to determining when evacuees could return home.

“We’ll see how it goes tonight,” she said.