An updated Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency map published Thursday morning indicates the Cloverdale wildfire has been contained.
Steve Roberts, the SPSA’s vice-president of operations, said that means the wildfire is not expected to grow, but added it could be weeks before it is put out.
The size of the fire was estimated at 5,583 hectares.
Prince Albert Fire Department chief Kris Olsen said first responders are there to protect residents and feel great knowing all homes are still standing.
“A lot of hard work from our staff and the partners we have went into saving those buildings and I guess there’s a sense of pride as well,” Olsen said.
He added there is an investigation into what sparked the blaze, which crews have been battling all week, both on the ground and from the air.
Olsen noted crews really were able to get a handle on the fire once the temperature dropped on Wednesday.
“We were able to send some of our crews who had been working,” Olsen said.
“I haven’t got the numbers … but I’m hearing reports of 36 to 40 hours on the line — absolutely exhausted. So that reprieve got them a break.”
The fire chief said he expects the clean up to take a little while and teams will be in the area for the foreseeable future.
The City of Prince Albert said evacuees in the city and the RM of Buckland can return to their homes as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
There is no word yet on when evacuees from the Berg subdivision in the RM of Garden River can return home.
City officials cautioned that evacuees returning home remain on a precautionary evacuation alert and should be prepared to leave again on short notice.
SaskPower said progress is being made on restoring power to roughly 8,000 customers as far away as La Ronge.
Spokesperson Joel Cherry said power is now expected to be restored by 8 p.m. Thursday.
Cherry said crews experienced some equipment issues and had to deal with boggy and difficult terrain.
He said that caused some track machines to get stuck.
The wildfire forced the evacuation of a number of people from at least 75 homes in Prince Albert, along with the rural municipalities of Buckland and Garden River.
The SPSA said it is providing support for approximately 40 people as of Thursday morning, including food, clothing and shelter.
The roadblock on Highway 55 has been taken down but speeds have been temporarily reduced to 60 km/h to allow emergency crews in the area to continue fire suppression efforts.
Prince Albert and the RM of Buckland remain under a local state of emergency.
-With files from Kyle Benning