Dry, windy weather leads to fire bans for rural Saskatoon areas

With the recent stretch of hot and windy weather, conditions have dried up quickly in Saskatoon and the surrounding area.

The RM of Vanscoy announced at noon on Wednesday a fire ban for all within the rural municipality.

Then on Thursday, the RM of Corman Park announced a total fire ban.

The Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) says there have been 10 wildfires in the Saskatoon region in April.

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Going from a winter that didn’t want to let go to suddenly hot, dry and windy conditions in Saskatoon and the area has resulted in a lack of moisture, especially in the grass and brushy areas.

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Saskatoon Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations and Communications Rob Hogan says fire crews are ready for this time of year through the transition of seasons. It’s the intensity of the grass they have been dealing with that is a cause for concern.

“We are used to it, becoming dry and having significant grass fires, which increase in complexity and size every year. They are very taxing on us. Fire bans do help in the long run.”

The reeve of the RM of Vanscoy Leonard Junop says it’s the RMs best interest to limit the potential risk for dangerous fires due to the current conditions.

“If we can cut down on what is happening with the preventative measures of it, to keep as many fires from happening as we can, that’s what we want to accomplish,” said Junop.

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Junop says some rain is greatly needed.

“We really need things to green up here, that will help.”

According to Environment Canada, Saskatoon is expecting a lot of sunshine and heat over the next seven days, even temperatures getting to the mid-20s mark.

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No moisture is expected in the foreseeable future.

“So far in April, we have only seen 13 per cent of our normal moisture recorded at the airport, that’s about 2 mm of melting snow and other precipitation. On average we have about 22.7 mm of moisture through that period,” said Quinlan.

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Hogan says people should also be disposing of things like cigarette butts instead of throwing them outside due to the combustible nature of dry grassy areas.

“We need people to dispose of those cigarettes properly, it’s such an easy way to start fires without realizing it,” said Hogan.

Although it may not seem like fire season because it’s still spring, the risk is increasing more while the weather stays dry.

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A map showing some of the RMs where a fire ban is currently in place. Graphics/Global News

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