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Lightning sparks fires in Saskatchewan


Water bombers helping to contain fires in northern Saskatchewan
Water bombers helping to contain fires in northern Saskatchewan

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

June 13, 2011 — Lightning sparked forest fires have forced evacuations in northern Saskatchewan.

Lightning sparked 16 new fires in SK on Sunday alone
Lightning sparked 16 new fires in SK on Sunday alone

Several communities in northern Saskatchewan have been evacuated due to wildfires that were sparked by lightning over the weekend.

About 450 people near Hall Lake and Sikichu were forced from their homes and it's not yet known when residents in the area will be able to return.

Officials at Wildfire Management say crews and water bombers have been on the scene for the past couple of days and are working to contain the fires.

“Lightning leads to about half the fires that occur annually on average in Canada,” says Mike Wotton, research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. “What we find is the fires that result from lightning lead to about 80 to 85 percent of the area burn so the vast majority of the area burn in Canada comes from lightning fires.”

Wotton says they are working on models that could help fire agencies predict where lightning-sparked fires are more likely to occur. Reliable models could also help to prevent destructive forest fires.

For more details on active fires across the country, head to the Forest Fire Watch index.

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