Southwest Saskatchewan faces extreme wildfire risk after dry conditions

This summer has been hot, and warm temperatures put Saskatchewan at risk of wildfires.

Although no fires have been reported in the southwest corner of the province, the area is considered to be at extreme risk from grass fires and a fire ban has been put in place for the area.

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Heat warnings have been issued by Environment Canada from Gull Lake to the Canada-US border and from Alberta to Makota.

“The southwest corner of the province is still extremely threatened by grass fires,” said Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA). “It is crucial that residents take every precaution to prevent wildfires as we near the end of the wildfire season, which could last into October.”

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Bryan Charprand, SPSA’s executive director of land operations, said as the end of summer approaches, more areas will be at high risk of wildfire outbreaks.

“As the season changes, the leaves dry up and the foliage falls to the forest floor,” he said. “Also, due to the lack of moisture, the grasses dry up and all the vegetation just dries up. Because of that, it’s just easy to ignite.”

In 2022, Saskatchewan saw 320 wildfires, just above the five-year average of 316.

There are currently seven active wildfires in the province.

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The province would like to remind residents to be safe when burning any type of fuel and to follow these tips:

  • Find out about fire bans in your area before lighting a fire.
  • Float campfire coals and stir.
  • Avoid driving through or parking on dry grass. A vehicle’s exhaust gases can reach temperatures in excess of 538 degrees Celsius (1,000 F). It only needs about 260 C (500 F) to start a fire.
  • Do not use machines or tools that can cause sparks in dry conditions. If you must use a tool like a grinder, wet your work area and have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Teach your children not to play with fire or matches. Fire can spread quickly.
  • Dispose of cigarettes and matches properly. Don’t throw them out of a vehicle.
  • Watch out for the weather. Most grass fires and wildfires start in hot, dry, and windy conditions. Do not burn in these weather conditions.
  • Reduce ignition sources. If it is dry, a fire can be started unintentionally.
  • Have access to hoses, fire extinguishers, and a source of water before beginning the controlled burn.

Environment Canada is also reminding the public to monitor warnings and forecasts. To report severe weather, email or tweet reports using #SKstorm.

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All Saskatchewan wildfire updates can be found on the SPSA website.

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© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Southwest Saskatchewan faces extreme wildfire risk after dry conditions


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