About 9,000 SaskPower customers in northern Saskatchewan remain without power after a wildfire burning northeast of Prince Albert destroyed a significant amount of electrical infrastructure on Monday.

The communities of Waskesiu, Weyakwin and Meath Park are starting their second day without electricity.

The tri-communities of La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band are also without power.

The La Ronge band has declared a state of emergency in the community of Stanley Mission as the community transitions between water treatment systems meaning residents have to boil water for consumption.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said the First Nation declared a state of emergency in the community to ensure necessary resources are available to all residents.

“It’s just for us to be able to bring in extra resources into our communities,” she said. “It means that we need that extra help to be able to help our community members because right now, in Stanley, there’s over 2,000 community members that live there so they’re without power, without water, without sewer.”

The La Ronge band is providing bottled water and a generator to Stanley Mission.

Bottled water is also being supplied to the communities of Little Red River, Hall Lake, Clam Lake Bridge and Sikachu and some residences in La Ronge.

“We do have about 40 households where we have to take bottled water,” Cook-Searson said of the La Ronge residents who are in need.

The Town of La Ronge remains with water and sewer services thanks to a backup power system in place, according to Mayor Colin Ratushniak.

However, the La Ronge mayor is cautioning residents to limit water usage.

“We don’t know how long we’re going to be in this situation, so we’re urging residents to reduce consumption–both using water and the sewage side as well–so that we don’t run into any issues where, if we get any disruptions in the services, we don’t want to be seeing sewer back-ups or any of that stuff happening,” Ratushniak said.

He said access to gasoline and propane remains stable for the time being, as two local fuel stations have resumed service with the aid of generators.

Ratushniak and Cook-Searson met Tuesday, along with Air Ronge Mayor Julie Baschuk, for an emergency meeting.

As a result, an emergency operations centre has been established.

The centre will allow communities to compile data on what services are available to residents, which residents need help and ensure the most up-to-date information is available.

“Our desire is to make sure that we’re being proactive rather than reactive,” Ratushniak said. “At 11 a.m., we had an emergency operations centre meeting where the tri-community leadership was involved to discuss our various options and to strategize what we were going to be doing moving forward.”

On the mayor’s Facebook page, Ratushniak is asking for volunteers to work at warm-up shelters, drive to and from Prince Albert to get groceries and provide traffic control and night patrol duties on behalf of the centre.

He said local leaders will meet daily at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. until power is restored.

Ratushniak said residents will be able to find up-to-date information from these meetings on each community’s respective Facebook pages.

(PHOTO: Drivers line up for gasoline at the Lake Country Co-op. The local fuel station is able to serve gas thanks to a backup generator. Photo by Sam Campling.)