Fires, smoke force 5,000 out of homes in northern Saskatchewan, one house lost

Emergency officials in Saskatchewan say wildfires have forced at least 5,000 people from their homes in the northern part of the province.

Emergency officials in Saskatchewan say wildfires have forced at least 5,000 people from their homes in the northern part of the province.

They say one of the fires has destroyed one home southwest of La Ronge as well as some cabins in remote areas.

Duane McKay, commissioner of emergency management, calls the fire situation volatile.

He says flames and smoke have led to the evacuation or partial-evacuation of 51 communities in the north.

The evacuations began late last week around La Ronge and La Loche.

Environment Canada has issued special air quality statements for all of Saskatchewan, as well as parts of Manitoba.

They say people in Saskatchewan should be aware of potential health concerns due to poor air quality.

They also warn that even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.