Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Stories from Those Caught Up in Northern Saskatchewan Wildfires

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Stories from Those Caught Up in Northern Saskatchewan Wildfires

Article excerpt

Stories from the Saskatchewan wildfires


Wildfires have forced thousands of people from about 50 communities in northern Saskatchewan. Many have been out of their homes for two weeks. Some have nowhere to return. Here are some of the stories of people caught up in this unprecedented wildfire season:

A total loss:

Sadie Montgrand scrimped and saved what she could to build her 23-square-metre cabin along the Clearwater River, about 70 kilometres north of La Loche.

It wasn't easy on a social assistance income to buy lumber and have it trucked in to such a remote place, but the 50-year-old started building a year ago.

She finally had things the way she wanted and had moved in many of her things when fire roared up to the river's edge on June 25.

Montgrand fled to safety. She had no time to pack.

A few days later, a family member reported that she and her brother, George, who had a cabin on the other side of the river, lost everything.

"It's gone -- nothing," she says.

It was always her dream to move back to the area where she had grown up. Now she doesn't know what she will do.

"Now, I don't really know. I guess I have to start all over again."


Business still brisk

Cora Leung and her husband are catching a few hours of sleep each night on an air mattress in the flower shop attached to their gas station in La Ronge.

If they wake to banging on the door in the middle of the night, they quickly open up.

The couple and their son were declared essential service workers when the town of 2,700 was evacuated last weekend. Vehicles lined up for hours at the Country North Shell to fill up with gas before heading out.

Now the business is serving those who remain -- fire crews and other workers working to save the town from the flames two kilometres away.

"It's practically a ghost town," says Leung, who can't see too far down the road because of thick smoke. …

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