07/10/2015 12:19 EDT | Updated 07/10/2016 05:59 EDT

Cabin owner beats back Northern Saskatchewan forest fire

Mark Paquette knew he was in trouble when he took his boat out on the water.

That's when he saw a huge wall of smoke and flame coming towards his cabin on Nemeiben Lake in Northern Saskatchewan.

"We actually thought we were in the clear," he said. "We thought it had gone by us."

Paquette and his wife have been working hard to save their cabin. For weeks, they've been spraying down their cabin with industrial-grade sprinklers, soaking it in water.

The strategy appears to have paid off.

"Once we saw the magnitude of the flames, we thought we had no chance," Paquette said. "Then you see this huge plume of white smoke and the flames die right down. And we were amazed. The sprinklers were doing their job."

Paquette watched the scene from the safety of his boat, located a safe distance from shore.

"Basically, we backed out, and it's just like going to the drive-in," he said. "Just watching a film, basically."

Paquette said the flames towered 30 metres into the air, and sounded like a jet engine.

"The heat was intense," he said. "The best way I could explain the heat is, I'm not sure if you've been in Las Vegas in June or July, but you're hanging out in the air conditioning, and you decide to go outside, and you open up those doors and that heat wave just hits you, that's exactly how it was."

The forest around the cabin is completely burned.

"Everything is just destroyed on either side of us," he said. "There's just nothing left. It's like walking on the surface of the moon."

Paquette will still be spraying down his cabin for the next few weeks. But he believes they may be safe now.

"I spent all day doing a perimeter and putting out hot spots, and anything trying to encroach into the sprinkler lines," he said. "I think we're in the clear."