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Extremely dry conditions make parts of Saskatchewan high risk for wildfires

Click to play video: 'Extremely dry conditions make parts of Saskatchewan high risk for wildfires' Extremely dry conditions make parts of Saskatchewan high risk for wildfires
WATCH ABOVE: Fire crews are still attending to fire cleanup in the RM of Corman Park following a large grass fire this past weekend – Apr 22, 2019

Grass fires have been popping up across Saskatchewan this spring at a rapid rate due to extremely dry conditions.

A grass fire in the rural municipality (RM) of Corman Park on April 20 destroyed a home, farmyard buildings, equipment and other vehicles.

READ MORE: Area evacuated as ‘out-of-control’ grass fire burns southwest of Biggar

Curtis Gilecki was at his parents’ home nearby when the fire broke out.

“We started pulling stuff out of the garage, whatever was valuable,” he said. “My mom was packing up everything in the house, photo albums, whatever we could get.”

The source of the fire currently under investigation and the total damage is unknown at this time.

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Fire crews from several detachments have been working around the clock since Saturday’s fire.

Warman Fire Department Chief Russ Austin said they’re searching the scorched area for any remaining hot spots as the strong winds could cause the fire to ignite again.

“When the fire came through here early on it moved so fast,” he said. “In some of the tall grass, it only burned the first few inches of material and there is still burnable material underneath.”

Meteorologist Peter Quinlan explained this is an unusually dry April as we usually see quite a bit of shower and rain activity throughout the month.

“We’ve only had 0.4 millimetres of rain at the Saskatoon airport so far this month,” he said. “It’s around two to four per cent of what we should see in April.”

READ MORE: Brush fire burns for hours northwest of Saskatoon

As of last Thursday, there were 17 RMs across the province with fire bans. The City of North Battleford was added to the list on Monday morning.

Judy Harwood, with Corman Park, is urging people to follow the fire ban.

“Look at the wind today,” she said. ”Look how quickly a fire could spread, it’s so dry so please, please, please don’t be burning.”

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Austin is asking people to dispose of cigarettes properly and to take precautions to protect their homes.

“Keep your yard clean,” he said. “Try to keep as big of an area around your house that is only grass or gravel.”

Central and western Saskatchewan currently has a Canadian forest fire danger rating of high to extreme for risk of wildfires.

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