Kids from Pelican Narrows started school last Monday, but haven’t been back as three wildfires forced more than a thousand people to evacuate the northern Saskatchewan community in recent days.
“(The students’) first day of school was their last day of school,” said Elizabeth Michel, a librarian at Opawikoscikan School in Pelican Narrows.
Michel evacuated the village with her husband and son last Thursday. Since then, she’s been using social media to keep up with what’s been happening back home.
“They’re watering down some of the houses. The fire seems like it’s getting closer; more ashes are falling into the community,” Michel said, referencing a Facebook post she had seen earlier.
According to Michel, Friday is the tentative date for evacuees to head home, and — like many others — she and her family couldn’t look more forward to it.
“(We’re) lonely. We want to go home,” said Michel’s husband, Mark.
Just having family nearby is something Michel said she misses most.
“Everybody is scattered all over — like in P.A., La Ronge, Regina. We’re missing our family a lot,” she said.
Michel added that activities have been planned to keep the kids occuplied, like going out to the movies and to the zoo.
“The Saskatoon Blades where here yesterday … playing hockey with the kids, so that was a nice treat,” said Michel.
When it comes to their own son, Jerren, Mark said the 10-year-old is staying entertained with family in Saskatoon.
“(Jerren’s) at the Travelodge swimming, he’s got a lot of friends over there, so he’s alright,” said Mark.
As someone who works in the commercial fishing industry up north, Mark has also been keeping an eye on its situation. He said that he’s heard reports of how the portages he uses to carry his boat have burned down, leading to more delays for him and other anglers.
The couple plans on travelling to La Ronge to stay with family while they wait patiently to return home.