The risk of wildfire remains extremely high in Saskatchewan, but so far there are only seven active fires burning in the north and all of them are under control and do not pose a threat to any communities.
On Friday morning, Premier Brad Wall announced a donation of $250,000 on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan to support the Red Cross response to the Alberta wildfires.
Emergency management officials with the Saskatchewan government are keeping in close contact with their counterparts in Alberta to see what kind of help the province may be able to provide.
In response to a request from the Alberta government, Saskatchewan’s Emergency Management and Fire Safety department has sent three experts to provide backup to the emergency command centre in Edmonton.
“We will continue to work with the province of Alberta to ensure that any other resources and need that they may have – to see if Saskatchewan could respond to that need and send other resources to them,” said Mieka Cleary, deputy commissioner of emergency management and fire safety.
She said part of the future response may include setting up shelters for evacuees if there is a need for any to come to Saskatchewan.
When it comes to actually fighting fires, water bombers continue to work along the Saskatchewan/Alberta border to control any fires that may develop in that region. In addition to the base in Prince Albert, the province has also set up caches of firefighting equipment in the Battlefords and Regina.
“With the high fire risk that we have here in Saskatchewan, we want to ensure that we have enough resources in case something does happen here,” Cleary explained.
Due to extremely dry conditions, 87 municipalities across the province have put local fire bans in place. There are also fire restrictions in seven provincial parks. The Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District is also under a fire ban, but that only includes unincorporated communities like resort settlements and subdivisions. That list does not include the Prince Albert National Park or First Nations communities.
It is up to individual municipalities and leaders on First Nations to make the decision to put a fire ban in place.