Skip to main content

Smoke and flames rise from a forest in the LaRonge, Sask., area in this July 1, 2015 handout photo from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment.HO/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan's NDP Opposition wants an independent review into how the province dealt with wildfires that forced thousands of people from their homes.

NDP Leader Cam Broten says the review should look at how well the government was prepared for the wildfires, including whether there were enough trained firefighters and equipment.

He also says a probe should consider whether the government collaborated enough with First Nation and other community leaders.

Broten notes that in 2009-10, Saskatchewan's budget for fighting wildfires was $102 million, but the government allocated about half that amount this year.

Wildfires sparked by lightning and hot, dry conditions burned huge areas of the province, threatening communities including La Ronge.

A shortage of firefighters prompted the government to call in the Canadian Army and help from crews across Canada and parts of the U.S.

"I want to see a full, independent review to ensure the appropriate lessons are learned from this experience, and to deliver a much better approach to forest fires going forward," Broten said in a release Tuesday.

"What role did all the cuts and shrinking resources have in allowing these forest fires to get so out of control? Why weren't enough people put on the front lines sooner? Why was there so little collaboration with First Nations that wanted to help house evacuees? Why was information not shared more readily? These are the kinds of questions many northern leaders and community members are asking, and they deserve answers."