Thirty residents of Waterhen Lake First Nation have been evacuated due to smoke from a wildfire burning on the lake’s west side.
The 1400-hectare wildfire, called ‘TUFF’ by the Government of Saskatchewan’s wildfire management officials, was still uncontained late Monday night as fire crews battled the blaze with helicopters and water tankers. The fire originally started during the afternoon of May 13.
John Halliday, a disaster management outreach coordinator with the Red Cross in the northwest/central region of Saskatchewan, said the evacuees are staying in Meadow Lake.
“The Red Cross is supporting 30 beneficiaries from Waterhen Lake First Nation that would be considered priority,” he said. “This means they have health conditions or they have small babies. Some are staying with friends and family. Some are staying at the hotels.”
He said the organization is sending air scrubbers to the community to help improve the air quality. For now, he said, the evacuation is a short-term arrangement.
“At this point, it’s just for one night until we’re told differently,” Halliday said. “It all depends on which way the wind’s blowing.”
Waterhen Band Councillor Dustin Ross Fiddler said the First Nation's chief and councill are actively working with all parties to ensure the safety of all community members.
The ‘TUFF’ fire is one of three wildfires in the province currently covering over 100 hectares.
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