Grass fires are burning through parts of central and western Saskatchewan (CBC)

‘Out of control’ grass fire burns in central Saskatchewan

Officials in the prairie province of Saskatchewan have declared a state of emergency in the town of Biggar and the Rural Municipality of Biggar, about 90 kilometres west of Saskatoon, as a raging grass fire filled the area with smoke.

Officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began evacuating an area southwest of Biggar and warned people to avoid the area because of a fire burning “out of control” since Monday night.

As a precaution Saskatchewan Health Authority has also evacuated the Biggar Health Centre, officials said Tuesday. The centre includes an acute care hospital and a long term care facility.

“Eight acute care patients and 53 long term care residents were safely transported to alternate beds in the Rosetown and District Health Centre and Saskatoon City Hospital,” the provincial health authority said in a statement.

Strong winds and dry conditions have complicated efforts to battle the flames. More than 30 municipalities have declared fire bans and are asking residents to be extra careful.

In many places farmers have been using their own machinery to build fire breaks in hopes of slowing down the blaze.

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