Fires worsening in northern Sask., Manitoba, but fires near Flin Flon area hold steady

Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba's forest fires situations aren't improving, but there's good news for Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach.

The Alir fire, burning near Muskeg Bay on the west shore of Amisk Lake, is now decreasing in size, going from over 2,000 hectares earlier this week to 1,478 hectares as of July 15. The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) has the fire ranked as "protecting values", indicating that fire crews have at least some control of the fire's spread.

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Another fire on the Manitoba side, the WE038 fire about 40 kilometres north of Flin Flon, remains out of control but has not advanced any further toward Flin Flon. The WE038 fire is just over 2,000 hectares in size as of July 15.

Three communities in Saskatchewan - Dillon, Grandmother's Bay and Southend - have already been evacuated due to forest fires. People living in a fourth area, at White Swan Lake between Deschambault Lake and Candle Lake, were ordered to evacuate July 15 and to take shelter at Candle Lake's community hall.

SPSA vice president of operations Steve Roberts told media members in a July 15 conference call that weather in northern Saskatchewan could complicate the region's forest fire situation, with little rain and hot weather on the horizon.

“The province will continue to see hot dry weather conditions for a number of days into next week. We may get some precipitation from storm activity and in those locations, we likely will see some lightning,” said Roberts.

“From a fire perspective, we will likely only see significant relief in the far, far north where the temperatures are going to come down and we'll have more cloudy conditions in those areas.”

Two smaller fires - the Tyacke fire and McKenzie fire - are burning south of Amisk Lake and have total sizes of 24 and 100 hectares respectively.

No reports of property loss or injuries have been made regarding any fires burning near Flin Flon, Creighton or Denare Beach.

A total of 130 fires are currently active in Saskatchewan, while 370 have been reported so far this summer - almost double the five-year average rate for fires reported province-wide. In Manitoba, 116 fires are currently burning, including 31 in the north - 13 of which are being considered "full response fires" by Manitoba Conservation and Climate.

- with files from Devan C. Tasa, Humboldt Journal

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