Jeanne-Marie de Moissac, reeve of the rural municipality, says there have been no injuries and no buildings have burned. (Brittney Matejka/Twitter)

Out-of-control Saskatchewan wildfire triggers state of emergency, evacuation

Authorities have transferred 53 long-term care residents to the health centre in Rosetown

Dozens of patients have been moved out of a hospital in Biggar, Sask., because of smoke from a nearby wildfire that has covered a wide area but is moving away from the community thanks to a change in wind direction.

Authorities have transferred 53 long-term care residents to the health centre in Rosetown, while another eight patients have been sent to City Hospital in Saskatoon.

The move follows a state of emergency that was declared early Tuesday by the town and the Rural Municipality of Biggar after the blaze got rolling in an area six to eight kilometres southwest of the town.

The fire was declared out of control Monday afternoon and officials evacuated a wide area as a precaution, with shelter space provided at the Biggar Community Hall and the recreation complex in the village of Purdue.

Jeanne-Marie de Moissac, reeve of the rural municipality, says there have been no injuries and no buildings have burned.

She says the change in wind to the northwest is pushing the blaze away from populated areas.

“We’re exhausted,” said Biggar fire chief Gerry Besse, after spending more than 20 hours battling flames that officials say have burned about 100 square km so far.

“This is going to take days to put out.”

The fire was still listed as out of control Tuesday morning and people were being told to be ready to leave their homes if instructed.

Firefighters from four outside communities are helping Biggar and area emergency personnel. The provincial emergency response team is also on scene with staff and equipment.

Farmers in the affected area have been using their machinery to create fire breaks to stop the advancing flames.

De Moissac said water bombers are expected to attack the blaze, but she fears that a number of rural properties still face a fire threat.

“Emotions are high,” she said. “We’re not used to this. We’re tinder dry … that old grass just burns like gasoline.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Canfor announces permanent closure of Isle Pierre Mill

The company also announced curtailments at their pulp mills in Prince George.

COVID-19 and returning to safe operation

WorkSafeBC recognizes the importance of worker safety as businesses look to resume… Continue reading

Local governments receiving provincial grants

Meant for infrastructure projects and planning

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read