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Stanley Mission, Sask. residents evacuate after wildfire inches closer

Click to play video: 'Stanley Mission, Sask. residents evacuate after wildfire inches closer' Stanley Mission, Sask. residents evacuate after wildfire inches closer
As of noon on Friday, the McCafe fire was just 2.5 kilometres away from the community. Around 1,000 people have evacuated the community. – Jun 11, 2022

After a week of burning, emergency response crews are still on the front lines of a fire southwest of Stanley Mission, Sask., with heavy equipment, air tankers and ground crews.

Support has been coming from Red Cross, Prince Albertmontana.ccd Grand Council (PAGC), Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) and from those within Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB).

“There’s been a lot of extra supports brought in and anything we need… I want to thank everyone involved. It’s a tremendous effort and it’s one of the things that we have to prioritize making our community members safe and we want to make sure everyone here, the firefighters and volunteers, we want to make sure they’re safe so that everyone can get home to their families,” said LLRIB Chief Tammy Cook-Searson.

As of noon on Friday, the McCafe fire was just 2.5 kilometres away from the community.

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Stanley Mission has a population of around 2,000 residents and over half have evacuated to either Saskatoon, Prince Albert or Regina via bus or personal vehicle.

One evacuee staying at the Saskatoon Inn, Sabrina McLeod, said the call to evacuate was frightening.

She also mentioned this fire seemed to be worse than one that happened in the same area nearly two years ago.

“On the way over here we were seeing a bunch of fire so that was very scary,” said McLeod.

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So far, the size of the fire is currently over 11,000 hectares of land, or half the size of Saskatoon according to Cook-Searson.

With heavy smoke in the area, many roadways have been closed for safety, since officials say they are fighting against the wind and dry weather.

However, sprinkler systems and water pumps have been activated around the community to help prevent more fires.

Cook-Searson said Thursday night gave them a scare when the fire took a turn towards Stanley Mission around 8 p.m. and was continuing on that way until around 1 a.m. on Friday morning.

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“It came in on the northwest side last night and it was raging hot, raging hot,” said Cook-Searson.

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However, since the wind has shifted to the east, Cook-Searson mentioned Stanley Mission has little to no smoke in the community as of Friday afternoon.

Maurice Ratt, emergency response coordinator with LLRIB, said hundreds of people have been contributing to help put out the fire.

“So far I’m confident in our firefighters and their expertise to contain the fire. I trust their leadership as well to make these informed decisions,” said Ratt.

The wind is expected to be blowing east away from the community for the remainder of Friday evening, giving Stanley Mission a chance to take a breath.

Officials are uncertain as to when evacuees will be able to make their way back home, as the fire remains uncontained.

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