The provincial emergency management and fire safety department is saying that eight fires remain burning in Saskatchewan, including two that remain a threat to those living in the area.
Two fires that are close to the Crutwell and Waterhen Lake First Nation areas have caused evacuation warnings to be in place, with residents remaining ready to leave the area with a moment’s notice.
Emergency Management and Fire Safety Commissioner Duane McKay says the weather forecast for this weekend increases the risk of fire.
“We expect warmer temperatures again this weekend, and while that’s great for summer camping, for us in the Emergency Management business and the Wildfire business, certainly that is a big risk,” McKay says. “There are fire bans in place across the province, we want people to be adhere to those, and to always be conscious about the fire risks.”
Wildfire Management branch Executive Director Steve Roberts says with the lightning strikes that took place Wednesday night, crews are monitoring the situation.
“We have a lightning detection system across the province, so we know where all of the lightning strikes are, we’ll monitor areas with both our camera detection system and patrol flights,” Roberts says. “During the heat of the day, because that’s when they’re going to show up, lightning will cause a fire immediately or you get what’s called a hold-over, and the heat of the afternoon will bring them out again. Our crews will be prepared, our crews will be on standby (Thursday) afternoon, in case they need to go and respond to a flare up of a lightning strike.”
All but one of the provincial parks, that being Cypress Hills, are under a fire ban for the long weekend.
Paul Johnson, Executive Director of provincial park operations, talks about the punishments for ignoring the fire ban.
“In our legislation regulations, we do have the ability to evict campers, and we have done that in the past under fire bans when they are causing a large risk to public safety and the environment in our parks,” Johnson says. “We work with conservation officers and Saskatchewan Environment, they can also issue tickets and fines for people who are not adhering to the fire ban.”
RM’s, first nations, and municipalities also have fire bans in place until further notice.