Firefighters battle wildfire near Clarkboro Ferry

Firefighters from Warman, Osler, and Martensville were called to the scene of a large wildfire near the Clarkboro Ferry east of Warman.

The fire, which began on the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River near the ferry landing at about 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 22, was fanned by southerly winds gusting up to 50 kilometers per hour. It spread rapidly up the riverbank and onto a stubble field.

When firefighters from Warman arrived on scene they set up a command centre near a farm on the east side of Range Road 3041. The first priority was to protect the farm buildings. Farmers using tractors and other heavy equipment plowed fire guards around the area.

Osler Fire Rescue and Martensville Fire Department were called in for backup. A huge plume of grey smoke could be seen from many kilometers away.

The fire was called in by Clarkboro Ferry employees who were preparing the ferry for operation that day. It was also called in by Warman High School student Layne Marshall.

Corman Park Police and RCMP officers are investigating the cause of the fire.

They were seen talking to a man at the scene who was believed to have been camping in the vicinity of where the fire started.

The RM of Corman Park implemented a fire ban, which prohibits open fires, last week. Several other RMs, including Vanscoy, Laird and Montrose also have fire bans in place.

At the time the Clarkboro Ferry fire was called in, several members of Warman Fire Rescue were assisting Dalmeny Fire Rescue mop up hotspots at a fire in Corman Park in the area of Township Road 374 and Range Road 3072. That wildfire had started on Saturday, April 20 and burned a wide area of scrub brush and damaged a substantial amount of property, including at least one home and several vehicles.

At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 22, another wildfire west of Warman and north of Martensville was called in. Saskatoon Fire Department was called in to provide assistance with that fire as firefighters were stretched to the limit attempting to battle all the simultaneous blazes. The latter fire was brought under control at about 4:30 p.m.