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Animals evacuated as flames from Prince Albert wildfire encroach

Officials with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said it will be days before the Cloverdale wildfire by Prince Albert, Sask., can be contained. File / Global News

When Red River Roping and Riding Arena’s president received news of evacuation orders north of Prince Albert, Sask., because of the encroaching Cloverdale wildfire, Candice Sinitoski knew her team had to act fast.

“Our staff there was proactive,” she said. “They put a post out on Facebook [asking] for help to move the cattle to someplace safe and to get the horses out by horse trailers.”

It didn’t take long for people to respond. In fact, Sinitoski said the response they received from the community was phenomenal.

Read more: Saskatchewan banding together to help evacuees as wildfire rages on

“Someone came and loaded the cattle. They’re now safe at the stockyards in Prince Albert,” she said. “And others came with horse trailers, loaded the horses, took them away to someplace safe. There [were] people that offered pastures and hay.”
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The evacuation order was issued for residents threatened by the fast-moving Cloverdale wildfire – a familiar situation for Sinitoski.

A few years ago, the arena and surrounding area were forced to evacuate because of a threatening wildfire. People came together to help relocate the horses and cattle. It was a time Sinitoski knew to prepare again for the future.

“You always know to prepare because of where we are situated,” she said. “We’re in a beautiful forest and when there is no rain, it can happen anytime…we would know as soon as we needed to go.

“Once you do it, it doesn’t make it easier the second time, but you’re just prepared and you do what you have to do.”

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

Sinitoski and her team are preparing for when it is safe to bring the animals back. Although they were not given a specific timeline, she said it is important the animals are safe and being taken care of.

The Red River Roping and Riding Arena is a sanctuary for horses and cattle. It is also a place where people can take horse riding lessons, or engage in horse therapy for those with special needs in their equine-assisted learning program.

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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
Local state of emergency declared in Prince Albert, Sask. and surrounding areas as wildfire burns nearby – May 17, 2021

The Cloverdale wildfire had grown to over 3,600 hectares by Tuesday morning.

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

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

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