Sask. family farm under water as massive ice jam floods Red Deer River

Glen Ukrainetz's brother recently had to be rescued by boat from his home because rising flood water forced him all the way into his attic.

Ukrainetz's family near Erwood, Sask., has fallen victim to a massive ice jam on the Red Deer River in east-central Saskatchewan.

Ukrainetz said the size of the ice jam is unprecedented and it caused water levels to rise anywhere from three to 4.5 metres in his mother's farmyard. Much of the farm equipment was completely submerged. 

"They said anywhere between six- and eight-mile [9.5 to 13 kilometres] ice jam and that's what was causing the water to back up," Ukrainetz said. 

Ukrainetz's mother's basement was flooded out.

Another neighbour lost some of his cattle in the flood waters, Ukrainetz said. 

While flooding is common for farms along the banks of the Red Deer River, the ice dam meant the experience was worse than usual.

"When great, big, huge trees are getting knocked down and floating in the water, the power of nature is just incredible. It's something that has never been seen before in that part of Saskatchewan," Ukrainetz said.

He added that officials used explosives to blow up parts of the ice dam and get the water flowing again. He described the process as "someone pulling the plug in the bathtub."

He said despite the damage to his mother's basement and his brother's house, he's thankful no one was hurt. 

Erwood is not the only place flooding. More than 100 people were forced from their homes on the James Smith Cree Nation as flood waters threatened that community.