Saskatchewan to take in 2,000 Ontario wildfire evacuees

With ongoing wildfires in Ontario, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has agreed to have his province host 2,000 evacuees.

Moe made the announcement after an agreement was made during Wednesday’s Canadian premiers meeting in Saskatoon.

“With respect to the wildfire evacuees coming from Ontario, Saskatchewan has agreed to accept 2,000 evacuees and we’re just working to place them in the cities of Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert,” Moe said.

“Ontario is currently battling many active fires in northern Ontario affecting over 20 communities,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “This includes First Nations communities who have declared emergencies due to risk to public health and wellness.

“I raised the issue directly with Premier Scott Moe and he agreed to help.”

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Moe said it’s a way the province can return the favour.

“We have done this before with evacuees from other provinces and in years gone by,” he said. “We’ve had to place many thousands of Saskatchewan evacuees when we have suffered wildfire conditions here.

“In past years, we have also accepted resources from other provinces in the way of air support and on the ground — firefighters and crews.

“The last time we had put out the call a few years ago in Saskatchewan, Ontario was there to provide wildfire support and we are very appreciative of that, and we are appreciative to be able to return the favour.”

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“Emergency response personnel are working closely with the Ontario Provincial Police, federal partners, community leaders and other agencies to fight the fires in northwestern Ontario and ensure people can evacuate safely,” Ford said.

Ontario is receiving further help from federal, First Nations, U.S. and other partners.

“We’ll work with the province of Ontario to make sure these people have a place to stay and hopefully they’ll be able to return to their homes shortly,” Moe said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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