Advertisement

Heavy smoke means Shoal Lake, Red Earth Cree Nation evacuees will have to wait longer to return

Click to play video: 'Heavy smoke means Shoal Lake, Red Earth Cree Nation evacuees will have to wait longer to return' Heavy smoke means Shoal Lake, Red Earth Cree Nation evacuees will have to wait longer to return
WATCH: Smoke from the late-season Bell fire near Hudson Bay, Sask. is still blowing into the communities, making the air quality unsafe for many people’s health – Oct 15, 2021

Evacuees from Shoal Lake Cree Nation and Red Earth Cree Nation will have to wait a little longer to go home.

Smoke from the late-season Bell fire near Hudson Bay, Sask., is still blowing into the communities, making the air quality unsafe for many people’s health.

Read more: Saskatchewan looking at sending some COVID-19 ICU patients to Manitoba

While cooler temperatures have helped quell the flames, smoke has resulted in plummeting air quality. Shoal Lake is six or seven out of 10 on the Air Quality Health Index.

Click to play video: 'Update on Bell fire near Hudson Bay, Sask.' Update on Bell fire near Hudson Bay, Sask.
Update on Bell fire near Hudson Bay, Sask – Oct 15, 2021

More than 700 people were evacuated to Prince Albert and Saskatoon earlier this month.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, Shoal Lake Cree Nation’s chief said some members have returned home against advice, including his own sister.

“These are people that don’t really put into consideration the health danger that they’re putting themselves in but we have those people that simply don’t want to listen,” said Chief Marcus Head.

Read more: First Nation Chiefs blast Sask. government over firefighting efforts

Head said forecasted winds are expected to continue pushing smoke into the community. He said many homes in Shoal Lake are in need of repair, and people on the ground say smoke is seeping into their homes.

Indigenous Services Canada is helping supply air purifiers for homes. Head said many are anxious to return home.

“It’s been quite a while since we evacuated and they want to return home but we’ve been telling them we don’t want to put a risk on their health,” he said.

He said the province should have done more to fight the fire sooner.

He said the First Nation is working on a strategy to push the Saskatchewan government to work with First Nation communities on fire prevention and emergency plans.

Sponsored content