July 29, 2015 11:48 am
Updated: July 29, 2015 1:12 pm

University of Saskatchewan professor calls for wildfire strategy

A University of Saskatchewan professor calls for wildfire strategy, says climate change will create larger, more intense fires.

Corey Hardcastle / Sask. Ministry of Environment
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SASKATOON – A University of Saskatchewan professor hopes an external review is conducted on the province’s long-term wildfire strategy. Wildfires in northern Saskatchewan forced the evacuation of over 13,000 people earlier this year.

Toddi Steelman, an environment and sustainability professor at the university, said a review should be conducted on all phases of wildfire response at a local, federal and international level.

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READ MORE: NDP calls for independent review of Saskatchewan Party’s wildfire response

Steelman hopes the review doesn’t just focus on this year’s wildfire situation but on the future as she expects similar fire seasons to occur.

“What the climate change models predict is that we are going to see larger wildfires and more intense fires over time and that’s exactly what we saw this year,” said Steelman.

“Really dry year, low humidity, lots of wind and it’s the perfect conditions for fire.”

The Saskatchewan government has stated it is committed to a review of its wildfire response.

READ MORE: Sask., B.C. premiers call for national wildfire strategy

The premiers of British Columbia and Saskatchewan have called for a national approach to fighting wildfires, with B.C. Premier Christy Clark saying a national plan is needed due to climate change.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall also broached the subject of a national strategy with Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the two met in Regina last week.

Watch below: Premier Brad Wall talks about coordinating with federal government to address wildfire problem

More than 70 wildfires continue to burn in northern Saskatchewan.

Joel Senick contributed to this story

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