Fire ban for Sask. provincial parks, Crown lands extended to Monday

·2 min read
The aftermath of the Cloverdale wildfire, just north of Prince Albert, Sask., in May.  (Albert Couillard/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The aftermath of the Cloverdale wildfire, just north of Prince Albert, Sask., in May. (Albert Couillard/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Saskatchewan has extended its provincial fire ban until at least Monday as 30 wildfires are now burning in the province.

That's an increase of five fires since the province provided its last update to media on Saturday.

At this time, three of those fires are considered to be contained and not expected to to grow in size, officials say.

However, the large number of active fires means the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency is not taking any chances.

The agency is concerned about soaring temperatures and continuing dry weather. Although rain is forecast, it will likely bring lightning with it.

"The continued heat wave will add to our fire load [and] increase complexity on these fires. They will require more effort because of the conditions," Steve Roberts, vice-president of operations for the public safety agency, told media on Thursday.

The ban — which prohibits open fires, controlled burns and fireworks in provincial parks and Crown lands — will not stop fires occurring through natural means such as lightning strikes, but it will help stop fires caused by humans, Roberts said.

Municipalities in the province have also implemented their own fire bans in conjunction with the safety agency.

Fires of concern

Officials say there are currently six fires that are not contained, three of which are considered to be of concern as they are within 20 kilometres of towns and villages:

  • The Stallard fire is in northern Saskatchewan and near the communities of Stony Rapids and Black Lake. It is 18 hectares in size.

  • The Lock fire in northwest Saskatchewan, near Dillon and Michel Village, is currently 5,190 hectares in size.

  • The Pothole fire in north central Saskatchewan, near Stanley Mission, is 360 hectares.

"All of those are full-response fires because of the community's potential threat and are being resourced with ground crews, aircraft and heavy equipment where we can get those pieces of equipment into the fire," Roberts said.

There have been no evacuation alerts. However, an unspecified number of residents in Dillon near the Lock fire have voluntarily left the area for medical reasons.

There have been 232 wildfires to date this year in Saskatchewan. That's about 30 more than the five-year average.

Roberts says his agency's efforts are are focused on the number of active fires at any given time rather than an increase on the year-by-year tally.

He says that now is a good time for people to think about how they'd respond to an emergency.

"Are you prepared to stay if your access was cut off for a couple of days, or are you prepared to self-support?" he asked. "Do you know what you need to take if you were asked to evacuate?"

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