Forest Fire Evacuees To Stay Put For Now

Friday, July 04, 2008 at 13:48



Contrary to media reports, there are no plans to have any evacuees from northern Saskatchewan forest fires returned to their homes today.


The provincial government says information provided to members of the media this morning suggesting a return by some evacuees was imminent was incorrect.


Roughly 2,200 evacuees remain at evacuation centres in Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon.


Emergency Social Services spokesperson Cathy Bulych says that number will stay the same for at least the remainder of the day.


Her agency says 168 more evacuees from Sandy Bay arrived in Saskatoon last night.


That brings the total number of evacuees in the city to 790.


Spokesperson Linda Gaudet says there has been no indication that more evacuees will be arriving today.


Fire officials say some progress is being made on four forest fires that have forced evacuations in six northern communities, and the fires appear to be holding.


Meanwhile, a spokesman with the Prince Albert Grand Council say the power outages that had been affecting Deschambault Lake have stopped.


Richard Kent says two generators are also being brought in to safeguard the situation.


He also says power outages have not been a problem for any other community facing the fires.


Highway 911 to Deschambault Lake continues to remain closed, but all of the other roads that had been temporarily closed throughout the north due to smoke have been reopened.


Meantime, an official with SaskTel says phone service to Black Lake and Stony Rapids could return as early as this weekend.


Michelle Englot says technicians brought in to the area yesterday have found the melted cable they were looking for.


Englot says they need to replace the first four kilometres of fibre optic cable between the radio site at Butler Lake and the highway to Stony Rapids.


She is anticipating the cable will be rebuilt by late Sunday.


The problem has left many residents reliant on the RCMP and the government to get messages out to relatives.


Meantime, a trapper situated 100 kilometres north of La Ronge says flames in the Birch Rapids area have destroyed a trapper’s cabin.


Ida Hovdebo reported the news this morning by radio telephone.


The region is home to several traplines and cabins.