Fort à la Corne Wildfire Breaches Forest Boundaries: Livestock Evacuated

(Last Updated On: May 17, 2020)

Update May 17th 2020 – 3:20 PM

Saskatchewan Wildfire Management data show the 20PA-ENGLISH wildfire is estimated to be at 28,847 hectares (71,282 acres/111 square miles)

Update May 17th 2020, 1:20 PM

Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency crews continue to work on the English Fire. Unfavorable wind conditions have created some challenges today. People are being asked to avoid the area.” Christopher Clemett, Director, Communications for Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency stated in an emailed update to Nipawin News, “SPSA Emergency Services Officers have made contact with the RM of Torch River, the RM of Garden River, the James Smith Cree Nation and the community of Smeaton to advise them of changing fire and smoke conditions. The region has an emergency management office that is working with the SPSA to monitor conditions and keep residents of the area informed. A SaskAlert was issued for the area advising of smoke conditions. None of the communities in the area have asked for further assistance at this time or require or evacuation support.”

Clemett says the 20PA-ENGLISH fire is now approximately 15,000 hectares (37,065 acres/58 square miles) in size.

Crews continue to battle strong winds, that have changed directions a few times since the fire started on May 8th, 2020.

Bulldozers and wildland fire contractors preparing to join existing crews on the fort a la Corne wildfire

The evening of Saturday May 16th, farm owners along the north boundary of the Fort à la Corne Provincial Forest, who had been given notice to prepare for possible evacuation, where busy hauling horses safely away from the fire, setting up sprinklers and making fire breaks by discing their land.

The fire jumped the White Fox River and reached farmland south west of Smeaton, SK. Smeaton Volunteer Fire Department attended and join residents working to prevent the field fires from reaching yard sites with homes and buildings.

Heavy, dirty smoke rolled into the eastern part of the RM’s of Torch River and Nipawin, with ash and smoldering embers falling across the region.

Taken from the Village of White Fox, J&J’s General Store; Smoke rolling through the east end of the RM of Torch River

Government of Saskatchewan Wildfire Management updated the data on the fire boundaries on Friday May 15th at 9,645 hectares (24,032 acres) however, the breach of the Provincial Forest boundaries means the next update will show a much larger area reached by the fire.

Wildfire Management – Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

Strong winds coming from the southwest and south continue to hamper efforts. Current winds near Smeaton are at 25 km/h, gusting to 37 km/h and building. Monday’s forecast predicts the winds will becoming from the Southeast at about 25 km/h, gusting to about 38 km/h. Tuesday the winds are anticipated to die down a bit, coming from the south at about 14 km/h with gusts up to 21 km/h.

Wednesday’s forecast the wind is projected to change to a wind coming from the northeast. Though strong winds are still anticipated at about 28 km/h, gusting to 42 km/h, light rain is forecast to hit starting Wednesday and Thursday shows a risk for a thunder storm.

Only one other fire is currently burning in the province, located on the west side of Peter Pond Lake, west of Buffalo Narrows, SK. The 20BN-YETI fire is about 3 hectares and is classed as “Ongoing Assessment”, meaning the fire is being monitored regularly to assess risk to values in the area.

Advisory Alert Update – Wildfire

From:SK Torch River, Smeaton, Choiceland, White Fox

  1. Alert: Sun May 17 9:28 AM 2020
    1. ↳ Update: Sun May 17 9:51 AM 2020

Affected Area – RM of Torch River

Update for the wildfire emergency advisory alert is being issued by the RM of Torch River #488, due to wildfire that has serious potential to cause emergency situations to the public. The wildfire is currently burning along the southwest edge of the RM of Torch River, from range road 2185 west to range road #2220, not along the north west edge of the RM of Torch River #488

Potential for heavy smoke in the communities of Smeaton, Snowden and Shipman.


Residents of the RM of Torch River are to prepare and be ready to take action should an evacuation be required. The public is being asked to avoid travel in the area. Follow directions of local authorities. Close windows, doors and vents, and take all necessary precautions.

Post Author: Joanne Francis

Joanne Francis is the Editor and Journalist for Nipawin News