A mandatory evacuation of the Clearwater River Dene Nation Wednesday forced residents from their homes well into Thursday, with the last scheduled bus leaving south at 6:30 PM.

A human-caused wildfire, which started days ago, is threatening infrastructure. Luckily a full arsenal of personnel, heavy equipment and water bombers are attacking the blaze.

“Some fires are very very close, I would say even as close as I would say maybe 100 feet,” said Clearwater River Dene Nation Chief Teddy Clark Thursday evening. Fortunately crews were able to prevent any property damage.

Clark said residents are being accommodated in Meadow Lake and Lloydminster, with the assistance of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.

The initial evacuation was a little bit rough, even hectic as Clark would say, but as the process developed it became a lot smoother, with people slowly moving out.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze Wednesday evening, but by Thursday, it once again raged as hot, dry and windy conditions breathed new life into the flames. 

“It’s hard to say with these fires. They have their own mind. They’ll go whichever way they want to go,” explained Clark. “There’s a lot of fuel. It’s hard to say whether we can contain it in the next few days.”

A fire ban is currently in place for the region. Clark warns people to be extremely cautious when starting campfires, given how quickly a fire can gain momentum.

The Northern Village of La Loche is now evacuating residents to Regina due to the ongoing threat of a wildfire.

The order was issued Thursday evening. The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is assisting with the evacuation.

Residents are being asked to register at the Community Hall or Ducharme Elementary School.

Environment Canada is forecasting sun and warm temperatures for the La Loche area for much of the next week, with rain predicted Thursday.

(Photo courtesy of the La Loche Wildfire Update Group Facebook.)