Crews continue to battle uncontained Waterhen Lake wildfire

From meadowlakeNOW
May 15, 2018 - 1:58pm

Fire crews, heavy equipment and air support continue to fight a wildfire burning on the West side of Waterhen Lake.

The 1,500-hectare Tuff fire remains uncontained, according to an update from wildfire management officials Tuesday afternoon. Fire crews battled the blaze with helicopters and water tankers overnight. The fire sparked Sunday afternoon.

Steve Roberts with wildfire management said the remoteness of the fire is causing some access difficulties for crews in and around the Waterhen Lake First Nation (WHFN) area.

“There are a number of remote structures north of the fire,” he said. “Our crews have been to those structures and have put up protection sprinkler units on those to protect them.”

He said containment of both the Tuff and 1,500-hectare Rally fire burning outside of Holbein are a top priority.

A number of residents from the WHFN were evacuated Monday due to the fire. Smoke is a local concern and Bev Smith with Emergency Social Services said 23 adults and 32 children are being cared for at hotels in Meadow Lake. Air scrubbers are being sent to the community to help improve the air quality today.

Waterhen Band Councillor Dustin Ross Fiddler said the First Nation's chief and council are actively working with all parties to ensure the safety of all community members.

There are currently 15 active fires burning in the province. There have been 148 fires so far this year, well above the five-year average of 86.

In order to mitigate the possibility of more fires igniting, wildfire management enacted a provincial fire ban Tuesday morning for all areas south of the Churchill River down to the US border. This includes all provincial parks, excluding Cyprus Hills Provincial Park.

 

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