Wildfires in western Sask. posing threats to First Nations

Wildfires in western Sask. posing threats to First Nations

As wildfire season rages on in Saskatchewan, several First Nation communities in the province are already feeling its devastating effects. The Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC) issued a warning on Wednesday, stating that a “high severity” wildfire had already consumed approximately 2,800 hectares and was still burning, posing a “significant threat” to the Moosomin First Nation located about 35 kilometres north of North Battleford.


Steve Vandall, the BATC’s emergency management coordinator, described the difficulty in containing the fire due to hot and dry weather, with constant winds exacerbating the problem. Thick black smoke filled the air, causing panic among residents and officials alike. Vandall urged residents to remain alert to any changes in the fire’s behaviour and to have medications and clothing ready in case of an evacuation order.

The nearby Saulteaux First Nation is also on high alert as the wildfire continues to spread. The BATC is working closely with both communities, the province, the city of North Battleford, and any volunteer groups willing to lend a hand. However, the suppression efforts are not enough, and more resources are urgently needed to contain the fire.

With the situation spiralling out of control, farmers or other equipment operators who have the ability to cut fire control lines around properties are being asked to contact the BATC. The situation is dire, and officials are scrambling to keep up with the blaze’s pace.

Mandatory evacuation order 

As if the situation wasn’t already dire enough, a mandatory evacuation order was put into effect on Wednesday evening for the Clearwater River Dene Nation, located about 511 kilometres north of North Battleford. The fire smoke and flames had crossed the only highway into the community, making it impossible for residents to escape. Chief Teddy Clarke of the Clearwater River Dene Nation posted on Facebook, urging all members, especially elders, babies, young children, and anyone with chronic health conditions and respiratory problems to evacuate immediately.

The evacuation command centre was being set up at the Clearwater River Dene Nation community hall, and buses were being made available to take members to Meadow Lake and Lloydminster. With the flames rapidly spreading, officials are working around the clock to ensure the safety of those affected by the wildfires. Saskatchewan’s wildfire season is proving to be a force to be reckoned with, and the province’s residents are left hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

Source: CBC News

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