Two wildfires in northern Saskatchewan posing a concern: SPSA

A photo of a water scooper plane in Saskatchewan. (Source: Government of Saskatchewan)

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) says there are two wildfires of concern in the northern part of the province.

Steve Roberts, SPSA vice-president of operations, said one of the fires of concern is the Lock fire, which is located between the Alberta border and Buffalo Narrows.

The fired covered 4,700 hectares, as of Saturday morning.

"It did receive some rain, not significant but some rain so fire behaviour is moderate today. They will take the opportunity to get crews out and take advantage of this cooling trend to get some containment of this fire," Roberts said during a teleconference Saturday morning.

He said the primary concern of the Lock fire is the Eastern flank that is posing a direct threat to communities approximately 20 kilometres away. 

There are currently 26 active wildfires in Saskatchewan, according to an active wildfire map on the province's website

The Briggs fire near the Cigar Lake Uranium mine is also causing a concern, the SPSA said.

On Thursday, around 230 Cameco workers were evacuated while 80 essential personnel remained on site and were able to secure the fire perimeter around the mine.

The Briggs fire covers over 22,000 hectares.

SPSA said until the province gets moisture and precipitation, the wildfires will continue.

"The low pressure is going to come down form the north and the rest of the province is going to cool down slightly and improve our action on fires, but we won't have a drastic drop in fire hazards in the near future," Roberts said.

The fire is also being managed by crews, aircraft and heavy equipment operators.

A province-wide fire ban was issued Friday due to hot, dry conditions and an extreme fire risk.

"Many rural municipalities opted to join us in reducing this risk by imposing their own fire bans as well. The intent is to remove the potential for human caused fires as we anticipate more fires from lightning and managing the couple significant fires we currently have in the province at this time," Roberts said. 

To date there have been 216 wildfires this year while the five year average is 197, the agency said.