Wildfire forces over 700 to evacuate from Southend, Sask.

Wildfire smoke forces evacuation of Southend, Sask.
WATCH ABOVE: A local emergency has been declared in Southend, Sask., due to smoke from wildfires, forcing the evacuation of 800 people.

A 3,000-hectare wildfire has forced hundreds to flee from their homes in the community of Southend, Sask.

The Woods fire is burning 13 kilometers southwest of the northern Saskatchewan community. According to provincial fire officials, the fire is in a remote area with rougher terrain like cliffs and valleys that can’t be accessed by road.

“It’s in an old forest and has lots of fuels to burn,” said Scott Wasylenchuk, the province’s director of wildfire operations, during a conference call on Wednesday.

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There are no fuel breaks, like roads or waterways, between the fire and Southend, which is concerning for wildfire officials.

While crews don’t anticipate the wildfire reaching Southend, they said they’re monitoring weather patterns in case the blaze changes directions.

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The dense smoke and concern over access to the community prompted an evacuation order on Tuesday.

Over 160 people were evacuated by boat and are camping out on Reindeer Lake; another 163 others were taken by bus to Prince Albert, and 400 people left in 100 private vehicles. Forty-two evacuees came to Saskatoon and many are staying at the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre.

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Registration for evacuees began on Wednesday in Saskatoon and Prince Albert; any evacuees in Saskatoon in need of accommodations are asked to check in at the soccer centre.

Southend is around 600 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.