SPSA says warmer temperatures and dry conditions can quickly change the wildfire risk across the province.
This summer has been a hot one, and with warm temperatures comes the risk of wildfires in Saskatchewan.
While no fires have been reported in the southwest corner of the province, the area is considered to be under extreme risk of grass fires and a fire ban has been put in place in the area.
Spanning from Gull Lake to the Canada-United States border and from Alberta to Makota, heat warnings have been issued by Environment Canada.
“The southwest corner of the province is still under extreme risk of grass fires,” Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) President Marlo Pritchard said. “It’s critical that residents take every precaution to prevent wildfires as we near the end of the wildfire season, which could last until October.”
Bryan Charprand, the executive director of land operations for SPSA, said as the end of summer approaches, more areas will become at high risk for wildfires to start.
“As the season changes, the leaves dry out and that foliage falls on the forest floor,” he said. “Also with the lack in moisture, the grasses dry out and all the vegetation just kind of dries out. So because of that, it’s just easily ignitable.”
There have been 320 wildfires in Saskatchewan in 2022, just above the five year average of 316.
Currently, there are seven active wildfires in the province.
The province wants to remind residents to be safe when burning any sort of fuel and to follow these tips:
- Check for fire bans in your area before lighting any fire.
- Float and stir campfire coals.
- Avoid driving through or parking on dry grass. A vehicle’s exhaust can reach a temperature of more than 538 degrees Celsius (1,000 F). It only takes about 260 C (500 F) to start a fire.
- Don’t use machines or tools that may cause sparks during dry conditions. If you must use a tool such as a grinder, wet down your working 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 correctly. Don’t throw them out of a vehicle.
- Pay attention to the weather. Most grass fires and wildfires start during hot, dry and windy conditions. Don’t burn in these weather conditions.
- Reduce ignition sources. It’s possible to unintentionally start a fire in dry conditions.
- Have access to hoses, fire extinguishers and a water source before you begin your controlled burn.
Environment Canada is also reminding the the public to monitor alerts and forecasts. To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #SKstorm.
Any updates on Saskatchewan wildfires can be found on the SPSA website.
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