Fire map. Courtesy of the Government of Saskatchewan.
According to emergency officials, the wildfires in northeast Saskatchewan have grown in size over the past couple days, but the threat to the communities remains the same.
Officials say the fires have been active in the past couple days due to high winds.
The Granite Fire near Pelican Narrows has increased from 78,000 hectares to over 80,000 hectares with the winds. However, emergency officials say even with the growth, crews are keeping the fire out of impacted communities.
Steve Roberts, the province’s director of wildfire management, says changes in wind speed and direction offer different threats and challenges.
“We continue to have to manage our weather forecast to see the winds shift, and then we have to adjust our operations as these wind shifts occur,” said Roberts.
Nearly 2,500 people have evacuated the community because of the fire and there appears to be no end in sight over the short-term.
Officials say the forecast from Environment Canada is not favourable over the next few days and are hoping for rain to help their efforts.
The province’s head of emergency management, Duane McKay, says they are communicating current conditions with the evacuees.
“While the fire may burn for a long period of time, our goal is to get people into their homes as soon as we can and planning for that is underway,” said McKay. “However, conditions need to be very safe in order for us to do that.”
McKay does say residents of the evacuated communities will be able even if the fire is still burning as long as the safety protocol is met.
Wildfire management officials are also continuing their efforts to allow local people to be certified to help fight the fires.