Wildfires burn north of Hudson Bay

October 4, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

CBC NEWS — The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is battling uncontained wildfires burning north of Hudson Bay, Sask., near the Manitoba border.

Of these, the SPSA says the Bell fire is particularly troublesome. The fire started on July 14, but until Sept. 28 was considered contained. Now it spans 44,364 hectares and poses a risk to logging operations in the area as well as to Highways 9, 55, and 3. 

“Crews are currently performing suppression efforts on additional fire starts in the area, and reminds residents, including hunters, to exercise caution against starting fires in the area,” said SPSA spokesperson Christopher Clemett.

The SPSA is also warning local communities that the Bell fire is producing “a lot of smoke,” which may be dangerous to some residents.

“The SPSA is in contact with community leaders and encourages anyone affected by smoke to stay indoors at this time,” said Clemett. 

Clemett says the hot, dry weather Saskatchewan has been experiencing for the last several months is also contributing to the fire. 

“It is not uncommon for fires to continue to burn into the fall during warm and dry conditions such as we are experiencing,” he said. 

Marvin Pochipinski has been farming in the area for decades. Given the weather conditions, he was alarmed by how quickly this fire has grown. 

“It’s really, really dry here,” he said. “This one just seemed to develop a couple days ago, and it’s spread.”

And while Pochipinski has not been directly affected by the smoke, he is paying close attention to the wind. 

“If the wind starts to come from the east, we’ll be right in it,” he said. “It’s only ten miles away from us.”

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