Multiple northern Saskatchewan communities have emptied out due to wildfires, but those remaining behind as firefighters, leadership, and support still require medical care.
Dave Webster has been flying doctors up to northern Saskatchewan.
“I’m called when the weather is bad, and so it’s been like that this week with smoke and visibility is very low,” he said.
Webster said it’s a tough job but a necessary one. He leaves Prince Albert in the morning and brings doctors to northern destinations including Deschambault Lake, Sandy Bay and Pelican Narrows. Webster spends the day in the community then flies the doctors home at night.
Webster, who is very experienced at flying in rough conditions, confessed even he gets nervous at times.
“Anytime you have a fire the risk situation intensifies because you have very poor visibility and then you have a lot of other airplanes that are out,” he said.
Webster said it’s always a concern that another airplane out there is not part of the system and is flying in the smoke.
“That’s my only concern is that there’s somebody coming from the United States, going to a fishing lodge or something that’s not on the right frequency,” he said.
Earlier this week, Webster was flying over Deschambault Lake and he was asked to take a picture of the large fire, west of the lake.
Webster said he could not do it because there was too much smoke.
Overall, between 10,000 and 14,000 people have been forced from their communities due to mandatory, general, and health-priority evacuations.
Webster is not the only pilot to document what he’s seen from the sky.
“Bird dog” pilot, and professional photographer, Corey Hardcastle has captured many of the dramatic photos that the government of Saskatchewan has been sharing over the past few weeks.
Hardcastle guides water bombers.
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