Wildfire conditions rapidly changing in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is in the midst of a heat wave that could lead to dry conditions.

“When we get these extended heat waves, the forest fuel dries up even more,” said Steve Roberts of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

When this happens, existing fires can get worse and new fires can grow faster.

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“Starting fires have the ability to grow faster, established fires have the ability to be more intense and larger,” Roberts said.

These types of fires require more aggressive action by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, he said.

Roberts said fire risk depends on two factors, current weather and fuel load. He said rain can have a big impact on wildfire danger levels.

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“If we get even one day of rain in the north, we will be in danger for a day or two,” he said.

Roberts said the southern part of the forest is very different from the north.

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Even if we had a warm day of 32, we wouldn’t see that extreme a risk, but in the north, where the fuel is so dry, a warm day equates to a very high risk day.

During the summer, the province’s five-year wildfire average is more than 400. Last winter, Saskatchewan had more than 600 wildfires. Currently, 60 wildfires are burning in the region. There have been 232 wildfires so far this season.

Roberts said it’s important to stay alert as conditions get drier and if you see or suspect a fire, report it to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s 24-hour reporting line.

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