The provincial government is reminding Saskatchewan residents to take precautions to prevent wildfires as the summer continues.
The province says there are currently seven active wildfires in Saskatchewan, with two of them contained. Overall, the province is experiencing fewer wildfires than normal, but that could change quickly with warmer temperatures and dry conditions, according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.
"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."
Meanwhile, in the southeast, the reminder comes just as the Estevan area is about to experience some scorching temperatures. Environment Canada is calling for a high of 31 degrees on Friday, with the humidex making it feel more like 37 degrees. Thirty degree temperatures are also expected for much of next week.
The SPSA says people should follow these tips to help prevent wildfires:
- 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.
The agency is also encouraging anyone who is doing any controlled burning to follow these tips:
- 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.