May 15, 2018 2:19 pm
Updated: May 15, 2018 2:57 pm

Dry conditions fueling wildfires in Saskatchewan

An aerial unit drops water on a wildfire burning out of control near Holbein, Sask., on May 15, 2018.

Ryan Kessler / Global News

Dry conditions across much of Saskatchewan are creating ideal conditions for wildfires.

The Saskatchewan government said there have been 148 fires so far in 2018, well above the five-year average of 86.

Steve Roberts, the executive director of wildlife management for the province, said two of the 15 active fires in the province are of concern.

READ MORE: Crutwell evacuation ended, wildfire still burning out of control

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The first is the Rally fire in the Holbein area, which has burned over 1,500 hectares.

“We have crews, heavy equipment and air support continuing work on that fire,” Roberts said during a Tuesday morning press conference.

An evacuation order was issued Monday afternoon for people in Crutwell and some surrounding areas, but was lifted late the same evening.

READ MORE: Be prepared to deal with emergency situations in Saskatchewan

Roberts said a breach of the eastern fire guard caused the evacuation.

“That piece of the fire has now been addressed with heavy equipment and crews and pumps,” Roberts said.

The other concern is the Tuff fire west of the Waterhen First Nation. It has forced the evacuation of 55 people who are now staying at hotels in the Meadow Lake area, with the Red Cross providing assistance.

The fire is not yet contained and Roberts said crews have put up value-protection sprinkler units on remote structures north of the fires.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan issues fire ban heading into long weekend

A provincial fire ban has been issued for the province from the Churchill River south to the U.S. border to reduce the threat of new fires.

Roberts said they are increasing their readiness to deal with any new fires and the open fire ban will continue until further notice, unless rain comes or the fire threat is lowered.

The current fire threat in most of Saskatchewan is high or extreme.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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