Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Boredom, Anxiety Weigh on Saskatchewan Evacuees Who Fled Flames and Smoke

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Boredom, Anxiety Weigh on Saskatchewan Evacuees Who Fled Flames and Smoke

Article excerpt

Saskatchewan fire evacuees anxious to return home

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PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - Trisha Halkett has one wish as she spends her second week out of her northern Saskatchewan home because of threatening wildfires.

She would like to be back in Montreal Lake when her second baby is due to arrive next month.

"I certainly hope so," said Halkett, 20, patting her stomach on a bench outside a Prince Albert hotel, her two-year-old daughter, Keirra, and husband Dudley Ross sitting by her side.

The family is among the more than 13,000 people who have fled as wildfires sweep across great swaths of northern forest. Massive fires continued to burn out of control Friday as crews worked to protect communities from the flames.

Steve Roberts of the Wildfire Management Branch says one blaze near the town of La Ronge has merged with another fire and is almost 1,000 square kilometres in size.

"For those trying to figure out what that looks like you take the entire area of the city of Saskatoon -- it is 5 1/2 times that size -- and that is just the one single fire within two kilometres of La Ronge."

Another major fire was within two kilometres of the village of Pinehouse, where 900 people usually live.

Data posted on the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says wildfires have burned almost one million hectares in Saskatchewan so far this year.

Montreal Lake, about 130 kilometres north of Prince Albert, is normally home to about 1,800 residents. Now, it's a ghost town and about 200 Canadian soldiers are pushing through the bush trying to keep it safe.

A handful of houses have been destroyed, but Ross, 24, says his family has been lucky so far.

"I was worried at first that ours would go down because that's where the fire was," said Ross. …

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