The Ministry of Environment's Wildfire Management branch has released dramatic footage of wildfires burning in northeast Saskatchewan. It shows an aerial ignition that occurred on Sept. 6. The ministry stressed the video does not indicate current wildfire behavior or conditions.
Aerial ignition is a technique used by wildland firefighters to remove fuel between a wildfire and a natural barrier, like a lake or river, or a constructed fireguard or retardant line. A spokesperson said, "a large wildfire can burn with considerable momentum, and may jump such an obstacle but by igniting smaller fires close to the barrier and removing the fuel in front of the fire, firefighters can slow or stop the main wildfire’s progress in that area."
This video was taken over an aerial ignition operation on the Preston Fire west of Pelican Narrows on Wednesday, Sept. 6. You can see the line of ignition points along the lakeshore, and part of the Preston Fire in the background. The smaller fires burn toward the Preston Fire, removing its fuel and slowing its progress. This successful operation helped to secure part of the eastern flank of the fire, reducing the threat to the community.
As of Tuesday, there were three fires burning near Pelican Narrows. The largest, the Granite Fire, had grown from 107,000 to 110,000 hectares and that forced the evacuation of twenty residents in Tyrell Lake. The Preston and Wilkin Fires remained stable.
Over 2,700 evacuees are currently in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
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