Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan to have higher than normal fire conditions this summer: Natural Resources Canada

Fire scientist say that Saskatchewan say Canadian Forest Service is updating their interactive maps every month from May to September this year so people can check the fire map in their region. Saskatchewan is one of the highest chances of fire this year.

Red Cross reminding people to be prepared

This interactive map from the Natural Resources Canada website shows that Saskatchewan has a high intensity for the upcoming season. (Natural Resources Canada website )

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) says that an upcoming dry, hot summer means there will be more fires, not only in Saskatchewan but all across Canada.

Yan Boulanger, a research scientist in research forest ecology at NRC, said that areas with spruce or pine, which are much more flammable, have more potential for fires. 

"Most of the time the big fires are mostly occurring within the central and northern part of [Saskatchewan]," said Boulanger. 

Natural Resources Canada put out its annual fire season report this week. It says Saskatchewan will have some of the most dangerous fire conditions in Canada this year.​​​​​​ The province will be dry and hot, the perfect circumstances for a bad fire season.

​Boulanger said it is hard to predict exactly how many fires will happen. 

"It's very difficult to predict ignitions of fire, like human ignitions of course we have that control on that as humans. But it is quite difficult to project out in the long term lightning ignitions." 

Preventing human-caused fires is important, said Boulanger. 

"Of course the less fire started by humans, the less likely there will be a big fire when the conditions are very conducive for fire," he said.  

Yan Boulanger says that many things can affect a fire's severity, like weather and even topography. He says the interface is a good tool for people to use. (Submitted: Jean-Sébastien Roy)

Boulanger said he does not want people to worry, despite the predictions for this upcoming fire season 

"Even though we are projecting conditions that would be much more conducive to fire it doesn't mean actually that there will be more fire," he said.

NRC's Canadian Wildland Fire Information System  can be found here:  https://cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/home

It features forecasts and other tools. 

"You have the interactive maps, you also have the current conditions that you can look at," Boulanger said.

Red Cross says to be prepared

The Red Cross is advising people to be prepared for anything that might come.

"Even though everyone is focused on COVID-19 right now, we are reminding people that the other natural disasters out there do not stop," David Smith, senior manager of emergency management for the Canadian Red Cross in Saskatchewan, said.

Smith said every family should know their risks, have a plan for people and pets and get a kit ready. Kits should include everything the people need to live for 72 hours, such as food, water, cash and a portable radio.

"Families should also give some consideration to their unique circumstances," Smith said. "If there are any medically vulnerable people in the family, they should give some consideration to that."

Smith suggests people should keep extra hygiene products in their kits such as hand sanitizer sanitizing wipes, or extra inhalers if needed, especially if there are any medically vulnerable people in the family.

Smith said for people feeling anxiety about preparing for an emergency during a pandemic, knowledge is power. 

"Knowing those risks that you face in your community and in your area can go a long way to sort of alleviating some of that stress," he said. "If somebody knows what they're likely to face they're better mentally prepared for it."

with files by Heidi Atter

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