Wednesday morning marked the first day of waiting to go home for evacuees forced to come to Saskatoon due to wildfires near their community.
Members of the Waterhen Lake First Nation, located about 75 kilometres outside Meadow Lake, were issued a mandatory evacuation notice Tuesday.
Sarah Kytwayhat was among those who arrived late Tuesday night at Sasktoon’s Henk Ruys Soccer Centre.
She said she was thankful for the efforts of Red Cross staff to make the space as livable as possible under difficult circumstances.
“They’re nice people, it’s good that they’re doing this for the community,” she said.
She said she’s been trying to keep up to date on the situation at home as much as possible.
“Last night they posted some videos on Facebook and the fire was still the same. Maybe a little bigger, too.”
Kytwayhat said she already knows exactly what she’ll do as soon as she gets back home.
“Just go lay in my big, comfy bed. These little cots are kind of sucky – but, beggars can’t be choosers, right?”
Kytwayhat’s partner, Ronnie, said his eight-year-old daughter was helping him keep his spirits up during the evacuation.
“She was just excited to come to the city, that was it,” he said with a chuckle.
On Tuesday, Waterhen Lake Chief Joanne Roy estimated about 400 evacuees from the community had registered with the Red Cross.
The Red Cross and other government agencies are working with communities impacted by the fires.
Province reports little change in overall wildfire picture
The wildfire situation hasn’t improved, but the good news is it hasn’t got worse.
According to the province, 10 active fires continue to burn. Eight of those are contained.
The Rally fire west of Prince Albert and the Tuff fire in Meadow Lake Provincial Park still aren’t under control, although relief is on the way, according to officials who gave a media update Wednesday morning.
Cooler temperatures and a change in wind direction are in the forecast, which should give firefighters a boost.
“Air tankers, heavy equipment and other pieces of heavy equipment, we have gone after these fires very hard,” Environment Ministry spokesperson Scott Wasylenchuk explained.
—With files from Sarah Mills and Bryn Levy