One dead in accident during Sask. storm

Saskatchewan RCMP say one man is dead after a single motor vehicle accident about 10 kilometres south of Burstall during last night’s firefighting efforts.

But incident commander Inspector Ted Munro said it is unknown whether the fire or visibility caused the accident on a grid road.

Two men fighting another fire near Tompkins were sent to Alberta hospital with serious injuries. Munro said they were private citizens, not firefighters.

Further details were unavailable.

Multiple fires across the province, and southern Alberta, started Tuesday in high winds, causing widespread power outages and damage. Some fires were likely sparked by downed power lines whipping in the wind.

The intense low-pressure system moved quickly and all Saskatchewan fires are now under control.

Raw cell phone video of the scene in Burstall Tuesday evening, October 17, 2017:

Ray Unrau, operations director for emergency management and fire services for the province, said livestock near Richmound were “impacted” by the Burstall fire but couldn’t say how many.

Three farms near Richmound and one near Burstall were affected.

At the Tompkins fire, a house, barn and shed were lost, he said.

The government said about 500 people from Burstall, 820 from Leader and 200 from Richmound were evacuated late Tuesday afternoon and evening, along with residents of a portion of the rural municipality of Deerforks.

It turns out the Leader evacuation wasn’t necessary as the fire was stopped about 30 km away.

Twenty-four long-term residents from a Leader care home, as well as three hospital patients, were taken to Swift Current.

Officials are now using aerial reconnaissance to assess damage and will have further updates later.

SaskPower reported 26,000 outage calls beginning noon Oct. 17. The corporation expected most power to be restored by noon Oct. 18, except for the southwest where it will likely take until tomorrow morning.

Top wind speeds of 131 kilometres per hour were recorded at the Moose Jaw weather station, according to Environment Canada.

Swift Current and Bratts Lake south of Regina reported 124 km/hr and many communities saw winds between 85 and 120 km/hr.

Wind warnings have been issued for most of Manitoba.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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