Sunday, July 5

"Saskatchewan is burning" - 1,000 troops to help battle more than 100 wildfires

Saskatchewan to get military to help fight wildfires as thousands evacuated
July 05, 2015 - 6:20 PM UTC
Associated Press via (Minneapolis) Star Tribune

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Canada – Close to 1,000 Canadian military personnel are on their way to help fight wildfires in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan where thousands of residents have been evacuated.

Duane McKay, commissioner of emergency management with the province, said Sunday that he military will bolster their ability to fight the fires. Provincial officials say about 741,000 acres (300,000 hectares) ares burning in Saskatchewan this year — around 10 times what's normal.

The Alberta government is preparing to receive up to 5,000 people evacuated from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan officials say 1,136 had registered in La Ronge and were transported to Cold Lake, Alberta, on Saturday night, while thousands of others were traveling out of the community on their own and would likely stay with friends or family.

Wildfires mapped: Saskatchewan is burning
Josh Elliott,
Published Sunday, July 5, 2015 6:14PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 5, 2015 9:57PM EDT

[See the website for video detailing Saskatchewan's request to firefighters in other Canadian regions for help; several are responding and on Monday there will be an updated announcement of all responding fire departments.]

Fire crews are struggling to put out more than 100 wildfires ripping through the northern region of Saskatchewan, where 51 communities have been evacuated ahead of the billowing smoke and devastating flames.

Saskatchewan's Buffalo Narrows and La Ronge regions are the hottest wildfire spots at the moment, but there are also 10 uncontained blazes tearing through the province's Prince Albert region, further to the south.

The province has now recorded 565 fires so far this season, more than tripling last year's seasonal total of 184.

More than 12,000 residents have been told to evacuate from their homes ahead of the choking smoke and flames, with many flocking to shelters in Saskatoon, Regina and Fort Battleford, while others take up refuge with friends or family living in other parts of the province. Neighbouring Alberta is also accepting evacuees in Cold Lake.

Several main highways in Northern Saskatchewan have been closed due to the fires.

Saskatchewan's latest wildfire map is shown below.



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