May 22, 2018 7:17 pm
Updated: May 23, 2018 6:10 am

Cottages destroyed in Saskatchewan wildfire

WATCH ABOVE: Thirteen cottages have been destroyed in a wildfire in western Saskatchewan. Adam MacVicar reports.

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Several structures have been destroyed as crews continue to try and bring a wildfire at Meadow Lake Provincial Park under control.

The Tuff fire, which started on May 13, has spread to over 6,500 hectares in size.

READ MORE: Crews continue fight with Rabbit Creek wildfire in Prince Albert National Park

Steve Roberts, the executive director of wildfire management for Saskatchewan, said 13 buildings were lost over the long weekend.

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“A subdivision at Flotten Lake which was protected by sprinkler units was encroached by the fire,” Roberts said during a media briefing Tuesday.

“They verified that there has been 13 cottages burnt at that location and also a number of out buildings.”

Andrea McDonald and her family own one of the 13 cottages lost in the blaze. She describes the Flotten Lake area as a tight-knit community, with many of the cottage-owners growing up together.

“It doesn’t feel real,” McDonald told Global News on Tuesday. “We’ve seen a video from somebody who is up there, and the cabins are absolutely gone.”

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

Like many in the community, McDonald’s cabin is a family heirloom with many lost memories and keepsakes left by her grandparents inside.

“It is devastating, it’s such an overused word but it’s devastating,” McDonald said. “My grandpa build the cabin, I grew up there, and my kids don’t know a summer without it.”

Officials say over 250 personnel are fighting the Tuff fire, along with 17 pieces of heavy equipment and nine helicopters. Water tankers are being used as needed.

Roberts said while the southern portion of the fire is reasonably contained, the northern perimeter is active with the Flotten Lake area of particular concern.

“Crews continue to work in that section, that is the most active part of the fire at this time, so they’re still working in those areas,” Roberts said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan issues fire ban heading into long weekend

He said the other wildfire of concern, the Rally fire west of Prince Albert, has been contained and crews continue to clean up.

Two outbuildings were lost in that fire.

The province is also assisting with the Rabbit Creek fire in Prince Albert National Park, which has grown to 240 square kilometres.

The fire risk remains extreme or high in most of the province and Roberts said the provincial fire ban south of the Churchill River remains in place until further notice.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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