Smoke and road closures from northern wildfires means that some residents are being evacuated to Saskatoon.
Twelve people from Birch Portage are housed at a hotel in Prince Albert and about 150 elders and health priority residents and their families, for a total of about 450 to 500 people evacuated to Saskatoon. Those with more serious health concerns will go to hotels and the rest will stay at the Henk Reyes Soccer Centre. Emergency Social Services Coordinator, Deanna Valentine, says the goal is to keep families and caregivers together, so the whole family travels with those suffering from health issues, which includes those with respiratory problems, other health needs, the elderly, babies, and pregnant moms. Emergency Social Services with the support of the Canadian Red Cross and other partners is providing the assistance.
A government spokesperson says the resort community of Jan Lake has declared a state of emergency because of smoke concerns from the wildfires. Jan Lake is along the same highway as Pelican Narrows. The majority of the community is seasonal, so the majority are moving back to their permanent homes, but 15 people who live there all year long are self-evacuating, so they don't require emergency shelter.
The Highway Hotline reports that Highway 106 from the Junction of Highway 135 to Creighton is closed due to a forest fire cross the road and barricades are in place. There are 35 active wildfires in the province right now, according to the Ministry of Environment, with 295 fires to date this year as opposed to a 5 year average of 441.