Saskatchewan fire evacuees continue to flood home on Thursday.
Evacuees from La Loche, Dillon, Michel Bay, St. George’s Hill, Ramsey Bay, Timber Bay, Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Weyakin are all heading home. Pinehouse, Turner Lake and Birch Narrows all had people return home on Wednesday.
“We still have our brush and our lawns and lilac bushes, I was so happy. It was wonderful. Then sleeping in my own bed last night was heaven,” Flora Kraus, administrator for Weyakwin said.
Pinehouse community leaders said they believe 90 per cent of the community returned on Wednesday.
There are still 9,724 evacuees receiving social assistance, including 954 in Regina, 3,327 in Saskatoon, 4,389 in Prince Albert, 256 in North Battleford and 798 in Cold Lake.
People will be able to travel with police convoy through La Ronge north and southbound between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. There still is no access to La Ronge.
Special weather statement, severe thunderstorm alert
A slow-moving low pressure system anchoring itself over Alberta will move into Saskatchewan early Friday morning.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday morning for the approaching rain.
Click here for up-to-date weather information.
Rain is expected to hit Ile à la Crosse, Buffalo Narrows, Beauval, La Ronge, Prince Albert National Park, and Narrow Hills Provincial Park areas.
The provincial government believes the rain will be a big help to firefighters who are moving from defensive to offensive fighting. Fire crews will be moving resources around the fires’ perimeter, extinguishing and fully containing the flames so they don’t spread.
“(It will be) a major turning point from where we have been,” Daryl Jessop with wildfire management said.
Wildfires still burn
As of Thursday morning, there are 127 active fires burning in the province. Three have been put out but another four started since Wednesday.
Another six structures are confirmed burned due to the current fires. The fire near Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Stanley Mission, which is Saskatchewan’s oldest standing building, is still considered a threat. The fire has not come any closer to the building.
RCMP and conservation officers have been escorting people in both directions on Highway 102. This will stop if the smoke becomes heavier or the fire gets closer.
Highway 165 and Highway 912 are still closed.
Fire ban lifted in Prince Albet National Park
The federally-administered Prince Albert National Park has lifted the fan ban inside that park with some rain through that area.
The fire ban is still in effect for all provincial parks and regional parks north of Prince Albert. Sask Environment says it wants to be sure it is safe to lift the ban before doing so. Sask Environment says it is assessing the situation daily.
There is no ban in the south, but it remains very dry, so you are asked to use great caution with any fires in southern parks.
-with files from News Talk Radio’s Alex Docking
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