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La Ronge, Sask. enters state of emergency after Cloverdale wildfire cause power outages

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

Three northern Saskatchewan communities have entered a state of emergency, following power outages caused by at least 15 transmission structures destroyed by an active wildfire.

The Northern Village of Air Ronge, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Town of La Ronge released a joint press statement saying that it may take until May 21 at a minimum to restore power to those impacted.

Community leaders said declaring a state of emergency will allow them to access emergency funding “and put us in priority for resource assistance as we proceed.”

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

SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry said the structures on the transmission line were damaged during the Cloverdale wildfire just north of Prince Albert.

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

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 on Tuesday.

Water remains safe to consume and a temporary warm-up shelter is being constructed at Mel Hegland Arena, community leaders said.

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

The Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre is offering food services and bagged meals to elders and anyone in need of food. Breakfast is available at 8:30 a.m., lunch is at 11:30 p.m., and coffee is available throughout the day.

The La Ronge Health Centre is currently open for emergency medical services, with extra staff being dispatched for support. The COVID-19 testing site and lab remain available.

The medical clinic will be closed until power is restored.

with files from Global News

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