Due to extreme fire hazards in Saskatchewan, the province is issuing a ban on all open fires in several provincial parks.
Those include Blackstrap, Buffalo Pound, Danielson, Douglas, and Pike Lake Parks, along with the surrounding recreation sites. Self-contained portable gas heating devices and fire pits, barbecues and other fires used for cooking may be allowed at the discretion of the park. Visit www.saskparks.net for more.
The province is also notifying the public that because of extremely dry conditions within the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District, there is a fire ban that includes all burning or open pit fires. That district essentially includes Prince Albert National Park and everything north.
In all, 10 wildfires were burning Thursday in northern Saskatchewan and all but one is said to be contained according to emergency and fire personnel within the Ministry of Government Relations.
In terms of what Saskatchewan is doing to help Alberta, Premier Brad Wall issued this statement Thursday afternoon:
"Both our Wildfire Management (WFM) branch and our Emergency Management and Fire Safety (EMFS) office and have been in contact with their Alberta counterparts to offer and provide assistance.
WFM is supporting Alberta wildfire response along our shared border to free up their resources. WFM is also providing air strikes in Alberta. We have not moved aircraft to Alberta but we have aircraft attacking new fire starts in Alberta. This has already occurred on a new fire north of Fort McMurray and will occur at any other location they require. We also have cleared the use of the airstrip in Buffalo Narrows to provide refueling and retardant supply to any aircraft working the fires.
EMFS is sending a team to Alberta to assist in the Emergency Operation Centre. Once our team is there, we will determine what further assistance they need and we can provide. We are also assessing possible locations in Saskatchewan that may be available to house evacuees, should that become necessary.
Meanwhile, the fire risk in our own Province remains high and so our officials will ensure that our resources and assets are at the appropriate level to be prepared for any event in Saskatchewan."
The RCMP in Saskatchewan confirm they have a number of officers on standby to relieve their counterparts in Alberta if needed. They are ready to help, but so far no requests have come in.
The province said it is up to municipal fire departments to make the decision to go to Alberta to help. Fire fighters with Regina Fire Services are also ready and waiting to help if they are needed, but so far they have not got the call to go.
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