Advertisement

Saskatchewan dealing with aftermath of wildfires and wind

Click to play video: 'Cleanup from wildfires, wind storm continues in Saskatchewan' Cleanup from wildfires, wind storm continues in Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: Cleanup continues in Saskatchewan from a wildfire and a wind storm. Rebekah Lesko reports – Oct 19, 2017

Between the wind and the wildfires this week, the aftermath of the destruction has the province in recovery mode.

Over the Burstall, Sask. area, a prairie fire covered more than 30,000 hectares. A fire at Tompkins burned 4,000 hectares.

READ MORE: Firefighter who died battling Alberta wildfire remembered as ‘great father’

Officials said the two main fires were not showing much activity as of Wednesday.

An estimated 400 livestock were killed in the fires.

“This is a type of response that is greater than anything that we’ve had to deal with, in terms of the rapidity, like how fast this thing moved,” said Duane McKay, Saskatchewan’s commissioner of emergency management and fire safety.

More than 50 fire departments battled the blaze overnight Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was almost hard to understand the size of what was going on. In terms of those responses to something that is moving that fast in the middle of the night, it was just so huge,” McKay said.

Within a few hours, during the windstorms and fires, there were more than 1,000 calls to 911.

“Previous sort of high calls would’ve been in the 60 or 70 calls over a period of time. Now we’re talking 1,110 calls, so the order of magnitude is massive in terms of what the impacts were,” McKay said.

READ MORE: Open fire ban in Saskatchewan south of Highway 16

SaskPower also saw a high number of calls during the windstorm.

In total, officials estimate the power outage affected 100,000 people across the province.

SaskPower said they received 40,000 calls, which is a near record amount. Within a 24-hour time period, there were 26,000 calls.

“It was a very violent event and widespread event, we don’t see it often that wide,” SaskPower spokesperson Jonathan Tremblay said.

READ MORE: Wildfire threat contained in western Saskatchewan

Wildfire management began surveying the damage on Wednesday after the winds calmed down.

Story continues below advertisement

Premier Brad Wall said he questioned the logistics if water bombers could’ve been used if the winds allowed.

“I think that’s part of the evaluation going forward. How do we deal, how do we make sure that perhaps some water bombing capacity is available in those shoulder seasons, even after the forest fire season up north is over, but the wildfire season chances still might be there,” Wall said.

The review process is underway to find where the fire started and how it spread.

Sponsored content