Winds Expected To Push Fire Smoke Towards Stony

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 13:01



It appears the cooperative weather conditions for forest fire fighters near Stony Rapids will be short-lived.


Favourable winds pushed smoke from the very large Noel Fire away from the northern hamlet yesterday, but in the direction of Fond du Lac.


However, Saskatchewan Environment spokesperson Jeanette Krayetski says a weather system moving into the area today is expected to cause the smoke to drift back towards Stony Rapids and Black Lake.


Hundreds of people have been evacuated from Stony Rapids, Black Lake, Fond du Lac and Uranium City in the last few days, and are now staying in an emergency shelter in Prince Albert.


Many say they’re tired and wondering how long they’ll be there.


Vanessa Patter is a teenager from Uranium City who was flown out at 1:00 this morning.


She says she couldn’t believe how much smoke there was when she left.


Another resident, Dorothy Kent of Fond du Lac, says she doesn’t know why fire crews didn’t attack the blazes sooner.


All of the evacuees say they’re hopeful of returning soon.


Most say they’re confident everything will be alright.


The Noel Fire is about 49,000 hectares in size, and is situated roughly 2 kilometres from the community’s outskirts.


Krayetski says crews have made good progress on a spot fire between Stony Rapids and the Fond du Lac River.


Meanwhile, Krayetski notes residents of Garson Lake have voluntarily left their community because of heavy smoke caused by a forest fire in that region.


The fire hazard is listed as “extreme” in many parts of the northern provincial forest, but Krayetski says her department is holding off on issuing a fire ban in advance of the Canada Day long weekend. Instead, Saskatchewan Environment is urging campers and others to be extra cautious when using fire this weekend.