Mayor of La Ronge Colin Ratushniak, Lac La Ronge Indian Band chief Tammy Cook-Searson and mayor of Air Ronge Julie Baschuk said there are no talks of an evacuation for community members in the La Ronge region at this point, but they are preparing.

Cook-Searson said the band has hired buses to be on standby in the case of an evacuation.

She said the band is following the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s (SPSA) lead at this point.

“We’ve been working really closely with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and we’re keeping in constant contact in the event that a fire threatens any of the communities,” she said. “We do have plans in place in the event that we have to evacuate.”

Cook-Searson said Grandmother’s Bay has already been evacuated.

“We’ve evacuated the ones that didn’t want to be in the community,” she said. “We didn’t declare a state of emergency but we did (evacuate) because of the close proximity of the fire—it’s less than a kilometre from the community.”

Ratushniak said the town of La Ronge has also been staying up to date in developments given by the SPSA.

He said communication is key at this point.

“I think that the most important thing is that the communication streams are wide open,” he said. “It’s up for the SPSA to handle and we’re going to take their guidance on anything in that nature.”

Although an evacuation isn’t being planned, Ratushniak said he hopes yesterday’s fire at Nut Point Campground in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park was a wakeup call to residents to remain vigilant.

“We had a close call yesterday with the Nut (Point) fire and they actually don’t have a cause for that,” he said. “Small things like that, people need to be very fire safe right now, really making sure that they’re following guidelines as far as fire bans go because it’s just one spark that can really change things at a moment’s notice.”

They are currently 132 active wildfires burning and a provincial fire ban in Saskatchewan.

(PHOTO: A CL-215 dropping a load of water. File photo.)