May 16, 2018 3:47 pm
Updated: May 17, 2018 7:27 am

Containing 2 Sask. wildfires ‘quite challenging’

WATCH ABOVE: Government officials expect progress to be made by crews fighting two wildfires as cooler temperatures move in and winds shift to the east. Ryan Kessler with the latest details.

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Scott Wasylenchuk says it has been “quite challenging” for crews battling two out of control wildfires in Saskatchewan, but expects progress to be made in the next couple of days.

Wasylenchuk, the province’s director of wildfire operations, said cooler weather and a change in wind direction may help crews get the upper hand on both fires.

READ MORE: Long, hot wildfire season forecasted by Natural Resources Canada

Crews are currently fighting the Rally fire near the communities of Holbein and Crutwell, west of Prince Albert, and the Tuff fire near Waterhen Lake First Nation.

The Rally fire has grown to over 2,100 hectares in size and is proving difficult for firefighters to bring under control since it started on Saturday.

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“With the very hot, dry weather we’ve had over the last couple of days, it’s been a very hard fire to contain,” Wasylenchuk said.

“We’ve gone after that fire very hard.”

He said a couple of smaller buildings have been lost in the fire and an ember started a spot fire on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River but was contained by crews.

READ MORE: Crutwell evacuation ended, wildfire still burning out of control

The Tuff fire has consumed over 2,600 hectares, with multiple crews and heavy equipment brought in to fight the wildfire. Wasylenchuk said gusty winds have challenged lines in all directions, but said no structures have been lost.

The fire has forced 176 people from the Waterhen Lake First Nation.

Fifty-four people with health concerns were evacuated on Monday due to health concerns and are staying at hotels in Meadow Lake.

An evacuation was ordered Tuesday for the 122 people remaining on the First Nation over an access threat to the one road leading in and out of the community. They have been brought to an emergency shelter in Saskatoon.

There have been 149 wildfires in Saskatchewan to date, with 10 still active.

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