Saskatchewan evacuating thousands more as wildfires spread

Mon Jul 6, 2015 7:32pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan said on Sunday it was evacuating an additional 8,000 people from the far north of the province, as wildfires continue to spread and threaten homes.

The provincial government said that as of Saturday there were 114 active fires in the province. More than 5,000 residents have already been moved out of the area in the past week.

The latest evacuations are around the town of La Ronge, roughly 600 km (370 miles) north of the provincial capital, Regina.

A spokesman for the Saskatchewan government said the premier of the province, Brad Wall, has asked Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for assistance from the armed forces to help with the logistics of the operation.

About 5,000 of the evacuees will be housed in the town of Cold Lake in the neighboring province of Alberta, with the remainder being moved to shelters around Saskatchewan, said the spokesman.

The Saskatchewan government said the province had faced 569 wildfires so far this season, compared with 193 in 2014.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Digby Lidstone)

Firefighters tackle a wildfire near the town of La Ronge, Saskatchewan July 5, 2015 in a picture provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations. REUTERS/Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations/Handout via Reuters