Highway 2 reopened on Monday between Wanuskewin and just south of La Ronge.
With La Ronge still under an evacuation order, RCMP are turning the public back at a checkpoint about 20 kilometres south of town. Only emergency vehicles are allowed to pass.
Smoke gets progressively thicker along the route from Saskatoon. Around the Weyakwin and Montreal Lake area, it was clear just how near the highway the fires had been. Charred trees and scorched ground could be seen only a few metres from the road bed in some places.
Many of the sites are still smoking.
Communities not evacuated wait, watch as province tries to control fires
With many communities already evacuated, other towns and villages throughout northern Saskatchewan face uncertainty as wildfires continue to burn.
Ron Carnahan was busy Monday, preparing to hose down his property in the small community of Napatak, about 25 kilometres south of La Ronge. He said bodies of water around the community seem to have afforded some protection but he was still concerned that embers could blow in from massive wildfires in the area.
“We’re just preparing for the worst and otherwise we’re ahead of the game compared to what’s taken place north of us,” he said.
Carnahan’s wife, Lynn Engdahl, said heavy smoke blanketing the community has turned her into a virtual shut-in.
“I have asthma, so the smoke really affects me. I just stay inside. And yeah, we just wait. One hour at a time,” she said.
Stranded by wildfires, man spends two days living by highway
When wildfires shut down highways in northern Saskatchewan, Jason O’Brien found himself stranded on Highway 2.
The trucker from Stanley Mission has been living out of his pickup about 20 kilometres south of La Ronge, surviving off of canned goods.
He has been there for the last two days, trying to get home to Stanley Mission.
“I went to La Ronge just because all my friends and family (live there), and that’s when they started evacuating,” O’Brien said. “I crossed that one closed road sign there coming from the north.
“I said, ‘Yeah just going into town’ and they go, ‘Yeah, OK, do whatever you need’. Can I come back? No. The road’s closed. And I’ve been trying to get back for two days.”
Even though Highway 2 was reopened Monday from Prince Albert to just south of La Ronge, only emergency personnel can go into the evacuated communities, so O’Brien remains stuck.
He has been unable to change his clothes, but remains in good spirits.
“I’m a trucker, so sleeping sitting up is no big deal,” he said.
– With files from News Talk Radio’s Kurtis Doering
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