Saskatoon

Early start to Sask. wildfire season expected

The Provincial Wildfire Centre in Saskatchewan is expecting an early start to wildfire activity in some areas of the province.

Provincial Wildfire Centre expects fires to start sooner this year

More than 100 wildfires were burning in northern Saskatchewan at one time in 2015. (thatconradguy/Facebook)

The Provincial Wildfire Centre in Saskatchewan is expecting an early start to wildfire activity in some areas of the province.

The west side of the province is drier than the east, but the director of the centre says there are a lot of crops left out on the east side, and farmers may burn them off.

The wildfire season in Saskatchewan runs from April 1 to Oct. 31.

So far, there have only been two reported fires in the province this year.

Fire operations budget goes up, overall management funds down

The overall amount of money dedicated to wildfire management in Saskatchewan decreased in the 2017-18 provincial budget, released last month, to $67.5 million from $73.8 million.

The drop was mostly due to an $8.7-million cut in spending for forest fire capital projects, to $13.5 million from $22.2 million.

Funding for the operations side of forest fire management went up to $52 million from $50 million.

The amount of money for recoverable fire suppression operations was $1.7 million, the same as it was in the previous budget.

In 2016, the province created a new emergency service officer role in La Ronge, Sask., following concerns raised about the government's communications during major forest fires in 2015.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story had incorrect fire budget numbers that were listed in tens of thousands instead of millions. This has been corrected.
    Apr 10, 2017 8:16 AM CT

With files from The Canadian Press

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