The province is continuing to pour resources into the Pelican Narrows area to help keep wildfires in the area at bay from communities.
In a teleconference update Tuesday afternoon, wildfire management executive director Steve Roberts said crews have “secured the southern flank” of the blaze closest to Pelican Narrows.
He noted 290 personnel were on the ground, supported by 20 helicopters, 20 pieces of heavy equipment and the province’s air tanker fleet.
Those numbers are a drastic increase from the week before, when 140 firefighters were on the ground with 15 helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment.
Roberts said while the areas closest to Pelican Narrows were being managed, weather conditions were continuing to be a challenge.
There continues to be three out-of-control wildfires in the northeast region, burning a combined nearly 111,000 hectares of land.
The Granite fire is the largest, having burned more than three times the area of Saskatoon. It sits 14 kilometres southeast of Pelican Narrows, and just one kilometre from the small community of Jan Lake.
The Preston fire is where most of the battle is centred, with the southern edge just three kilometres from Pelican Narrows according to the latest aerial mapping.
Roberts said they were now considering the blaze a “direct fire threat” to the community, but stressed it wasn’t an indication the danger level had increased.
A third fire, labelled Wilkins, is 15 kilometres south of the town.
Warm temperatures and dry conditions throughout the week are expected to contribute to extreme challenges for firefighters, and to risks across the province.
Roberts said he expected a fire ban in all provincial parks to continue through the weekend.
EVACUEES LEAVING HENK RUYS FOR HOTELS
Emergency Social Services released their latest evacuee numbers during the teleconference, saying 2,457 residents had left the Pelican Narrows region by Tuesday.
Of those, 842 people had relocated to Saskatoon.
Provincial co-ordinator Deanna Valentine said 499 had been settled into hotel rooms for the time being, while 182 were either staying with family or friends or were camping.
As of Tuesday, 161 evacuees remained in the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre