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Fire Forces Evacuation of Local Reserve


An estimated 500 of the reserves’s 1,400 people were evacuated from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation on Sunday evening (May 21) as a forest fire burned dangerously close to the community.
Chief Nelson Genaille told media the evacuation was limited to the elderly, people with medical conditions and those with young children. He also said that three water bombers and a helicopter were brought in to fight the fire.
The evacuees were being taken by school bus to hotels in The Pas and Swan River.
As of Monday, the fire was no longer being fought by air but ground efforts were still in place as the remaining residents awaited word.
No update on the situation was available at press time but Genaille expected that further evacuations would be necessary as flames continued to draw closer to some of the homes in the community.
Recent heat and dry conditions have prompted local municipalities and the provincial government to enact burn bans and back country travel restrictions around the entire Valley, including the Duck and Porcupine forests.