April 13, 2015 11:03 pm
Updated: April 14, 2015 5:35 pm

Fire bans issued around Saskatoon due to extremely dry conditions


SASKATOON – Recent dry weather has prompted local fire departments to issue total fire bans for the RM of Corman Park, the RM of Vanscoy and the RM of Montrose.

No open fires are permitted in those areas until further notice.

With most of the snow now melted across the regions, little precipitation in the past week and howling winds over the past few days, humidity values have plummeted as low as 13 per cent Monday in Saskatoon.

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The combination of a precipitation-parched land with strong winds forecast to continue for the next seven days has raised the risk level.

A chance of showers is in the forecast Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, however it will take a more significant weather system to bring in the needed moisture to make a dent in the bone dry weather.

Saskatoon is reporting well below normal rainfall totals so far this month with only a few millimetres having fallen, when normally the city receives around 24 millimetres of precipitation in April.

READ MORE: Warm, dry conditions create ideal situation for grass fires

As of Friday, the Saskatoon Fire Department had responded to a total of seven grass fires so far this year. Crews responded to 67 grass and brush fires in 2014 and 115 the previous year.

Officials say most grass fires happen in the spring before everything greens up. They say areas covered with dead or dry grass can easily ignite and can quickly get out of control if it is windy.

There are some tips to help reduce the risk of grass and brush fires:

  •    dispose of cigarette and cigar butts safely – never on the ground or out of a moving vehicle
  •    never leave any fire unattended
  •    teach children the dangers of playing with matches and lighters
  •    clean up dead leaves and twigs from yards, roofs and gutters
  •    never run vehicles close to dry grass and shrubs – exhaust from vehicles can reach 500 C

Fire officials say anyone planning to do a controlled burn needs to inform the department at 306-975-3030 before and after the burn to avoid firefighters being sent unnecessarily if the fire is called in by a passerby.

Dave Giles contributed to this story

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