By Glenn Hicks
The long weekend brought good news for communities threatened by the ‘Rally’ wildfire west of Prince Albert, but new fires were also sparked elsewhere in the province.
On Tuesday officials said the ‘Rally’ wildfire was fully contained, though lots of work was still underway as personnel moved inwards from the containment lines.
“[We have] hose lines, pumps, crews working with heavy equipment and helicopters to keep that from flaring up,” Wildfire Managment Branch Executive Director Steve Roberts told reporters. “You won’t see a lot of smoke from that fire, and you haven’t for a number of days.”
Roberts said the portions of the 2,500-hectare fire which jumped the North Saskatchewan River last week have now been extinguished.
“We’re going within the fire boundaries and doing extinguishment to prevent any flare-up that could challenge that containment line,” he said.
Given the added pressure on firefighters caused by additional wildfire ignitions over the long weekend, Roberts assured the communities near the blaze, such as Holbein, Crutwell and Lily Plain, that the current combination of provincial personnel and local fire departments was enough to handle the situation.
Meanwhile, two much smaller wildfires also have the attention of crews. At Sandy Bay the so-called ‘Hi Rock’ fire sparked close to the health centre Monday, which Roberts said “caused some concern.” Firefighters managed to contain three sides of the 7-hectare blaze, he said, including the portion closest to the community. The cause of the fire, which started inside the community, is still under investigation.
Another 7-hectare blaze sparked by lightning was burning to the east of Candle Lake over the long weekend. Roberts said crews were working at the scene Tuesday morning and had managed to secure a guard around three sides.
There have been 181 wildfires in Saskatchewan so far this year, compared to a five-year average of 122.
Heat warning issued for northern Sask.
Hot, dry conditions were expected to continue in northern parts of the province.
Environment Canada issued heat warnings early Wednesday morning for areas around La Ronge, Île-à-la-Crosse, La Loche and Cree Lake.
Areas around all those communities were expected to see highs of 29 C or higher with overnight lows of 14 C. The high temperatures were expected to last through Thursday.
People were advised to monitor themselves and their loved ones for signs of heatstroke and to schedule activities for cooler times of days if possible.
Environment Canada also reminded people not to leave loved ones or pets waiting in hot cars.
A heat warning for Wednesday and Thursday was also issued for the city of Lloydminster.
-With files from 650 CKOM