SaskPower says it hopes to restore power to about 8,000 northern Saskatchewan residents as soon as Thursday.
Communities such as La Ronge, Air Ronge, Stanley Mission, and Montreal Lake have been without electricity since Monday due to a wildfire burning northeast of Prince Albert.
Roughly 15 power pole structures have been damaged by the Cloverdale Fire.
SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry said crews are now working on the damaged infrastructure with the goal of restoring power in the next 24 hours.
“If we have to do additional line stringing or, for whatever reason our crews have to leave the area, it could be longer,” he said. “Maybe Friday or Saturday but things right now are trending toward the more optimistic scenario.”
Even though the fire is still actively burning and not yet controlled, Cherry said crews are able to access the equipment they need to repair.
“We have trac machines to allow us to get into harder to access areas. It’s a standard part of responding to outages that occur in more remote locations, even more remote locations than this. We make use of aircraft as well to survey the area.”
La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band have all declared states of emergency because of the power outages.
About 1,000 SaskPower customers in areas near Spruce Home and Christopher Lake had their electricity restored last night.
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency says the fire grew slightly since Tuesday and now sits at a little over 3,700 hectares.
“The fire grew a small portion yesterday, primarily to the east, toward the agricultural land, away from the City of Prince Albert,” SPSA Vice-President of Operations Steve Roberts said. “We have added already four more crews this morning. We’ve also added an incident command team to the structure and we’ve added both our emergency responders and government firefighters to that group.”
Emergency responders are now asking some residents in the Rural Municipality of Garden River to evacuate because of fire concerns.
There are currently 45 evacuees registered with the municipal government in Prince Albert who are receiving food, clothing, shelter and other necessities.
This number does not include residents who may have evacuated the area and are staying with friends and family.
Responders continue to ask all evacuees to register with the city.
“So, if anyone is in need of support and the important part is that it is for information, so there is a mode of contact as well,” SPSA Director of Emergency and Crisis Support Joan Hrycyk said. “But also ensuring anyone who needs support is able to get it.”
Evacuees can register by phoning the Margo Fournier Centre at (306) 953-4816.
So far, no homes have been damaged by the fire.
Highway 55 from Prince Albert to Meath Park remains closed.
Drivers accessing the city from the north are asked to use Highway 355 west at Meath Park and then use Highway 2 south.
(PHOTO: The Cloverdale Fire. File photo.)