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New evacuation order issued due to fast-moving wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask.

Click to play video: 'New evacuation order issued due to fast-moving wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask.'
New evacuation order issued due to fast-moving wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask.
WATCH: Crews continue to battle the raging Cloverdale wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask., and dozens of people have not been able to return home – May 19, 2021

A new evacuation order has been issued for residents threatened by the fast-moving Cloverdale wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask.

Residents who live and work north of Highway 55, east of Cloverdale Road and west of Honeymoon Road must immediately evacuate, the City of Prince Albert and the RM of Buckland said in a SaskAlert message.

Those who can self-evacuate and are able to find their own accommodations should head to Highway 2 and proceed to the Margo Fournier Centre at 1211 1st Ave. W. to register.

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The Cloverdale wildfire that initially forced the evacuation of 29 people in the city on Monday afternoon had grown in size to 3,694 hectares by Tuesday morning.

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Officials with the Saskatchewan government said the fire started just after 3 p.m. roughly four kilometres northeast of the city limits.

They said it will be days before the wildfire can be contained due to the dry spring many areas of the province have experienced.

Steve Roberts, vice-president of operations for the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA), said the close proximity of the fire to the city is of concern.

“We’ve had a drier spring in the Prince Albert area and when this fire started, we were experiencing a pretty high wind event, which drove the fire from its start, so it increased in size pretty quickly,” he said.

“We do have values in the area, including subdivisions, some industrial infrastructure.”

He said conditions are currently not ideal for fighting the fire.

“We will continue today, although the weather will not be favourable.

“We’re going to look at temperatures in the high 20s, 20- to 40-kilometre winds.”

Roberts said the winds are in the same general direction as Monday, causing the fire to progress in the same direction.

He said that is good.

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“That will ensure that we don’t have to worry about the fire coming backwards on areas that we’ve contained and started to work on.”

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Roberts said smoke from the fire that drifted into the city overnight due to an inversion cleared by morning but will return Tuesday afternoon.

Crews are battling the fire on two fronts: fire suppression and protection. Officials said sprinklers were successfully placed on 15 homes for protection.

No significant losses have been reported.

Roberts said cooler conditions in the forecast will help with fire suppression.

“Most of the activity was heat-related and wind-related so as we get past that, it will allow us to get some good active guards and some containment on the fire as well,” he said.

Highway 55 from Prince Albert to Meath Park is closed due to the wildfire. Pulp Haul Road between highways 2 and 55 is also closed to allow crews to battle the blaze.

The SPSA has a number of assets on the ground and in the air battling the wildfire.

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Five helicopters, multiple air tanker groups, heavy equipment and ground crews are being supported by the Prince Albert Fire Department and Buckland Fire Department.

The SPSA said an emergency services officer is also working in co-ordination with local authorities.

The fire has knocked out power to roughly 9,000 customers as far north as La Ronge.

SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry said geography plays a factor in how widespread the power outage is as there is only one transmission line serving the entire area.

“The nature of the north is just that — it’s geographically very spread out and often you do have one major transmission line that serves an area,” he said.

“So just logistically, it takes time to respond to something like this. We’re certainly working to get this taken care of as soon as we’re safely able to do so.”

Roberts said the wildfire has damaged a number of structures and it poses safety and logistical challenges in making repairs.

“Once visibility conditions allowed, (crews saw) 10 damaged transmission structures, several of which were burned right to the ground,” he said.

“There’s going to be significant repairs required there and the fire remains active.”

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Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan banding together to help evacuees as wildfire rages on'
Saskatchewan banding together to help evacuees as wildfire rages on

Both the City of Prince Albert and the RM of Buckland declared a local state of emergency Monday afternoon and 29 people were ordered from their homes.

They were housed overnight at hotels and no decision has been made on when they can return home.

The City of Prince Albert is asking the evacuees to register with the city.

“The registrations will provide a line of communication with evacuees and confirm the number of families impacted,” said Prince Albert fire Chief Kris Olsen.

“Evacuees are advised that they should be prepared to not return to their homes for at least tonight.”

Environment Canada has an air quality advisory in place for the region.

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It said smoke from the wildfire is causing poor air quality and says some people may experience sore eyes, tears, coughing and a runny nose.

Some individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath.

Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk, Environment Canada said.

The agency says people should consider taking extra precautions to reduce their risk of exposure.

Click to play video: 'Local state of emergency declared in Prince Albert, Sask. and surrounding areas as wildfire burns nearby'
Local state of emergency declared in Prince Albert, Sask. and surrounding areas as wildfire burns nearby

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