While Saskatchewan is experiencing fewer wildfires than normal, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) is reminding residents that we are not out of the woods yet. Warmer temperatures and dry conditions can quickly change the wildfire risk across the province.
Saskatchewan has seen 320 wildfires to date, compared to a five-year average of 316. There are currently seven active wildfires in the province. Two are contained, while five are under ongoing assessment.
“The southwest corner of the province is still under extreme risk of grass fires,” 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.”
Residents are encouraged to take extra care to prevent wildfires by following 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 degrees Fahrenheit). It only takes about 260 degrees Celsius (500 degrees Fahrenheit) 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.
If you need to burn grass, bush piles or stubble on your property, plan ahead for a safe outcome:
- Do not plan a controlled burn if there is a fire ban in your municipality.
- Call 1-866-404-4911 before you start your controlled burn.
- Have fire guards in place around the area where you wish to burn.
- 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.
- By reporting controlled burns in advance, you’ll avoid dispatching firefighters unnecessarily.
- If you plan to burn in a provincial forest, in park land, or any quarter section wholly or partly within 4.5 km of a provincial forest during the wildfire season, from April 1 to October 31, you must get a Burn Notification Number.
If your home is at risk of wildfire, take steps now to be FireSmart. Visit saskpublicsafety.ca to download a free homeowner’s manual and to stay informed about the current wildfire situation.