Wildfire officials have issued an emergency evacuation order for the town of Burstall, Sask., the Rural Municipality of Deerforks and the town of Leader, Sask. due to a fire burning in the province’s southwest.
With winds gusting towards the northeast at 85 km/h as of 3:30 p.m., an emergency alert said the wildfire had the potential to cause emergency situations for the public.
Residents in Burstall, the south part of the R.M. of Deerforks and Leader are being told to evacuate the area and go to Kindersley.
“We’re asking everyone as they travel north along Highway 21 to meet the RCMP officers, who will be there to greet them and will direct them to the Elks Hall, which is located right off Highway 21and will be our intake centre,” said Bernie Morton, chief administrative officer and director of emergency preparedness in Kindersley.
Pictures from the area showed heavy smoke blocking out the sun as people left the region Tuesday afternoon.
Burstall Mayor Tegan Bodnarchuk told 980 CJME the fire was approximately three kilometres south of the town, with high winds exacerbating the situation.
— Sean Schofer (@SeanSchofer) October 17, 2017
Jim Hale, a farmer in the province’s southwest, also took photos from Lemsford — located about 82 kilometres to the east of Burstall — showing smoke blocking the sunshine.
“It’s all just dark grey smoke,” he said. “If it’s moving as fast as the wind is moving, it could be near (Lemsford) within a couple hours.”
Officials and residents in Leader were preparing to receive evacuees Tuesday afternoon before the town had to evacuate as well. Burstall has a population of just over 300 and Leader has about 820.
SaskEnergy has two technicians in the Burstall area to check on SaskEnergy’s above-ground facilities. They are checking if they are at risk due to the fire. SaskEnergy has a major station 26 kilometres west of Burstall. The crown corporation’s regional office in Swift Current is also sending technicians into the region to check on other facilities.
— David Kirton (@saskafternoon) October 17, 2017