The wildfire picture in northern Saskatchewan is vastly better a day after cool temperatures and a sprinkle of rain across the province.
Officials told residents of Waterhen Lake First Nation they were allowed to return home Friday morning, as the threat of the Tuff fire cutting off the community’s only access road had passed.
About 25 people with health issues were being held back from the community Friday in Saskatoon.
The fire, burning in Meadow Lake Provincial Park, didn’t breach any containment lines set by firefighters on Thursday. However, with 5.17 square kilometres already burnt the fire isn’t considered to be under control.
Park officials said people going to Meadow Lake Provincial Park for the long weekend would be advised to expect smoky conditions, and to avoid certain areas to allow crews to work on the fire.
Steve Roberts, executive director of wildfire management, said the situation surrounding the Rally fire west of Prince Albert is even more optimistic.
“The weather for the last two days has been very favourable,” he said.
“[Crews] are working around the perimeter of the fire with the objective of containment within the next day or so.”
The province noted they would be extending their warnings to residents in nearby Holbein and Crutwell to be ready to leave in case conditions worsen before the fire can be brought under control.
Alerts continued Friday for people living in the northern parts of the R.M. of Sherwood and R.M. of Canwood due to the Rabbit fire burning on the south edge of Prince Albert National Park.
As of Friday, Saskatchewan had recorded 161 fires in 2018, well above the five-year average of 98.
While rain helped firefighters against active blazes, it wasn’t enough moisture to end fire bans across the province.
Officials said the ban in provincial parks south of the Churchill River would continue through the weekend.
The province also tweeted a list of 74 R.M.s and 57 urban municipalities with active fire bans.
— Government of Saskatchewan (@SKGov) May 18, 2018