The beast is right at Saskatchewan’s door.
The growing Alberta wildfire that prompted the entire community of Fort McMurray has reached the border. However, Duane McKay with government relations said it doesn’t pose an immediate threat to any community.
The community closest to the flames is La Loche, which McKay estimated was still about 30 kilometres away from the fire and situated around a lake. He said they are monitoring the smoke in La Loche and some of the surrounding communities.
“This fire has been completely unpredictable. It was anticipated to be in Saskatchewan almost over a week ago and it stalled out. It is now moving again but weather forecasts are indicating that that should slow,” he explained.
Those in the wildfire management branch expect to see a change in the direction of the wind over the next day and a half, blowing from the west towards the east, which they believe will mitigate the growth into the province.
“This fire is not actually moving as aggressively as it is in Alberta. What’s favourable for us is that there will be a wind shift,” said Steve Roberts, executive director of wildfire management. “It will also allow our crews access to the base of the fire in less smoky conditions so we can engage the fire better. Because of those winds, we don’t expect a large or rapid ingress into Saskatchewan.”
Neither Roberts nor McKay could say how many hectares the fire was occupying in Saskatchewan. They also believe there aren’t likely enough resources to put out a fire of that size, so they will be relying on rain to help extinguish the flames.
As of Thursday morning, there were a total of nine active wildfires in Saskatchewan. Two of those fires were not contained.
So far in 2016, there have been 154 wildfires.