11/06/2015 03:50 EST | Updated 11/06/2015 03:59 EST

Saskatchewan Wildfires Underline Need For Better Emergency Management

In this July 9, 2015 photo, provided by the Ministry of the Environment, fire retardant drops on a wildfire near La Ronge, Saskatchewan. The Canada wildfires have forced thousands of people to evacuate, and air advisories have been issued across central and western Canada, as well as parts of the western U.S., due to the thick smoke over the region. (Corey Hardcastle/Ministry of the Environment/Government of Saskatchewan via AP)

SASKATOON — The commissioner of emergency management in Saskatchewan says the high number of wildfires this year underlines a need for better ways to deal with natural disasters.

Duane McKay says the province will assess its procedures and officials will head to affected communities to hear their concerns.

About 100 properties were lost and more than 13,000 people had to leave their homes last summer when some of 730 wildfires came close to many communities in the province's north.

McKay says the way the province handled the fires was a success because no lives were lost.

He says some of the toughest challenges during the summer were evacuating people from different parts of the province and setting up communication centres across Saskatchewan.

McKay says the economic cost of the fires are still being determined.

"It's about qualifying our capabilities and ensuring that we have the mechanisms to reach out and draw in all the resources,'' McKay said.

"I wouldn't say that we're not ready, I'm saying that it's continual improvement, we're looking for the gaps, not sitting on our laurels waiting for the next incident.''


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Saskatchewan Wildfires