Saskatoon

Good soaking rain needed says firefighter

The deputy fire chief in Balgonie Sask. says there wasn't much snow this winter and so it's dry, and emergency crews across the province are bracing for more grass fires this spring.

Warm weather and winds fans the flames of grass fires across the province

The Saskatoon Fire Department responded to four grass fires on April 12. So far in 2016 they've extinguished nine grass fires. (Submitted)

The deputy fire chief in Balgonie Sask. says there wasn't much snow this winter. So, emergency crews across the province are bracing for more grass fires this spring due to the dry weather.

You can end up in a world of trouble.- Doug Lapchuk 

"Until we get a good soaking rain and things start greening up, this is something we're going to be facing," said Doug Lapchuck. 

Lapchuk warned landowners that they should be very careful with controlled burns right now.

"Even if you don't think it's a windy day, try and keep it small and under control. We all know in Saskatchewan 
the wind can pick up and change direction; change speed in a heartbeat and then you can end up in a world of trouble."

Lapchuk made the comments after his department joined three others in knocking down a large grass fire east of Regina. 

Fires burn near Saskatoon

Tuesday's hot, sunny conditions kept Saskatoon firefighters busy after four grass fires sparked up around the city, and firefighters are still fighting two of them.

"This is the beginning of the season," said assistant fire chief Dave Bykowy.

The Saskatoon Fire Department responded to its first fire Tuesday at 8:18 a.m. CST near Buck's Auto Wrecking after a loader hit a power pole dislodging the lines and igniting grass nearby. Firefighters took close to three and a half hours to end the threat.

The second fire sparked up at Grasswood Road and Clarence Avenue around 10:51 a.m. CST. Crews were on scene quickly and extinguished the fire within 40 minutes. The fire department said a controlled burn got away from a landowner nearby, but it was small enough to be contained by one fire engine and a tanker.

Less than an hour later, reports of a third grassfire off of Valley Road came in and firefighters were still on scene Tuesday evening trying to contain the blaze. Firefighters are also on scene of a fourth grassfire on Auction Mart Road about four kilometres west of the Dalmeny grid road. It was another controlled fire that burned out of control.

No injuries were reported and no buildings were damaged from these fires. The fire department says it has responded to nine grass fires since the start of 2016.

In a news release, Bykowy said the fire department sends two engines, an off-road unit and a tanker to each grass fire, which means resources across the city were on alert.

The Saskatoon Fire Department reminds acreage owners who plan to conduct burns to give serious consideration to conditions. Warm weather and high winds have the potential to turn controlled burns into dangerous grass fires.

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