Cloverdale wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask. about 65% contained

Click to play video: 'Cloverdale wildfire knocks out power to parts of northern Saskatchewan'
Cloverdale wildfire knocks out power to parts of northern Saskatchewan
WATCH: Some people north of Prince Albert are still in the dark after the Cloverdale wildfire knocked out transmission lines – May 20, 2021

Progress is being made to contain the Cloverdale wildfire northeast of Prince Albert, Sask., which has forced people from their homes.

In an update Wednesday evening, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) said the fire was about 65 per cent contained. However, wind direction and speed continue to make the situation challenging.

The Cecil ferry remains open and extra staff was brought in to keep traffic moving.

Residents north of White Star Road are allowed back to their homes.

The wildfire started Monday afternoon and has moved east toward agricultural land, away from the city. It exceeded 3,700 hectares as of Wednesday morning.

Steve Roberts, the vice-president of operations with the SPSA, said the majority of the wildfire is on the north side of Highway 55, but it has crossed south over the highway.

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

Roberts, the vice-president of operations with the SPSA, said cooler weather will help crews with fire suppression, but did not say how long it will take to contain the wildfire.

He said there has been no major structures lost in the fire, but said an office trailer was damaged by the wildfire on the first day.

At least 50 homes had been evacuated by late Tuesday afternoon and a new evacuation ordered was issued Wednesday morning for residents in the Berg subdivision in the RM of Garden River.

Roberts was not able to say how many people were ordered evacuated, but said it affects between 12 and 18 small acreages.

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SaskPower said power was restored to roughly 1,000 customers on Tuesday evening, but approximately 8,000 customers remain without power.

Spokesperson Joel Cherry said 15 structures on the transmission line — mainly power poles — were damaged.

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He said crews have been given the go-ahead to enter the area to start repairs to restore power.

Crews will work around the clock and power could be restored to affected customers within a day.

Damage to SaskPower poles caused by the Cloverdale wildfire near Prince Albert, Sask. SaskPower / Supplied

He cautioned that it will depend on whether conductor wire was damaged in the wildfire.

Air quality remains a concern, with a special air quality statement from Environment Canada remaining in place.

The agency says people should consider taking extra precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to the poor air quality caused by smoke from the wildfire.

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The City of Prince Albert said it has registered 75 evacuated households as of Wednesday morning.

Joan Hrycyk with Crisis Support said it is too soon to say when the evacuees will be allowed to return to their homes.

City officials are asking evacuees who have not registered to do so at the Margo Fournier Centre at 1211 1st Ave. W. or contacting 1-306-953-4816.

Prince Albert Police Service said it issued tickets to two people who were located unlawfully inside the perimeter at the Cloverdale fire overnight Tuesday.

The tickets, totalling $2,000 each, were issued to a man and a woman who did not have a residence in the area, according to police on Wednesday.

Police said the area along Highway 55, between Prince Albert and the Pulp Haul Road, has been evacuated due to the fast-moving fire and no one is being allowed to go back into the area at this time for their safety reasons.


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