Forest fire burns uncontained near Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Sask.

The Cameco Corporation has reported a forest fire in the vicinity of its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan.

In a statement, the company said it has evacuated about 230 workers from the mine and roughly 80 people remain on site to keep the facility in a safe state. 

It said the fire is complicated by extremely warm, dry weather resulting from the heat dome currently over Western Canada. 

Production at the Cigar Lake Mine has been temporarily suspended. Cameco said should the wildfire threat continue to grow, there is a plan to keep the workers there safe and a number of precautions have been implemented. It said it’s working closely with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency on site. 

‘In case anything happens. I love you’

Moriah Dyck Wednesday heard from her fiancé, who works at the site, that there were fires threatening the mine and it was starting to look worrisome.

“He didn’t know what was going to happen and that preceded a long line of text messages and phone calls. Well, the phone calls had to stop because he couldn’t even breathe,” she said. 

Her fiancé is a volunteer firefighter and volunteered to stay behind while others were evacuated, she said. They texted to stay in touch and he texted her, “In case anything happens. I love you and our baby.”

This photo of smoke billowing from the Brigg wildfire was sent to Moriah Dyck, whose fiancé is a volunteer firefighter and working at the nearby Cigar Lake mine. He’s among 80 mine workers who have stayed behind to help ensure the facility remains safe. (Submitted by Moriah Dyck)

“They were surrounded and they couldn’t make it to water,” Dyck said. “They were trying to call in choppers or radio choppers to come.” 

 At about 5:10 p.m. CT, the mine was shut down. Five water bombers arrived to help around 6:15 p.m. CT, she said. 

“They just didn’t stop for hours and hours and hours and hours. And then, unfortunately, [his] phone died in the midst of all of that. I didn’t hear from him until like nine o’clock this morning,” Dyck said.

“I was pretty much up all night thinking he was dead.”

The flames were higher than the trees in northern Saskatchewan on June 30. (Submitted by Moriah Dyck)

It was a long mess of a night but her fiancé texted her after charging his phone this morning, and she said the fight continues. 

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which regulates the mine, tweeted that it is monitoring the situation and will provide updates.

The province says there are 19 currently active fires. Five are not contained, including the Brigg fire near the Cigar Lake Mine. 

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