Saskatchewan cabin owners advised how to help prevent wildfires from spreading

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WATCH ABOVE: Being 'fire smart' this summer – Jul 17, 2019

With summer in full swing, cabin owners across Saskatchewan are being advised about how to help prevent wildfires from spreading.

Don Dill usually spends about six weeks every summer at his cabin in Prince Albert National Park.

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He’s been coming to the park since he was a child and has never really had a concern about wildfires, but it was on his mind last spring.

“I think it has brought everyone’s consciousness up quite a bit that you could get a big fire and there’s pretty much nothing you could do if you don’t take some precautions,” Dill said on Wednesday.

A controlled burn in the southwest section of the park spread and resulted in the Rabbit Creek wildfire. It was in the backcountry and burned more than 30,000 hectares, but park staff said they’ve learned some lessons.

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“We spend a lot of time looking for specific weather conditions before we have what we call our prescription. So what direction of wind, what temperature … We need to have those all in place,” Parks Canada fire management officer Glenn Rupert said.

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This summer, Parks Canada is asking homeowners to be “fire smart” and take precautions like clearing wooded debris from areas around structures.

“That would really help us limit the spread potential if a wildfire ever did threaten the townsite,” Rupert said.

“Every spring, we burn off a 40-hectare area just on the south side of (Waskesiu) and that’s an annual maintenance burn to reduce the fuel loading in that area of the fuel break. Our other burns in the park are for ecological purposes.”

While Dill’s cabin is a distance from trees, he has still taken precautions to prevent any flames from reaching his summer getaway home.

“We have removed some wood steps that we had and replaced it with recycled rubber, but I don’t think it was a big risk in a way. We try to keep the amount of excess wood to a minimum around the cabin,” Dill said.

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Parks Canada said simple things like removing yard waste and trimming vegetation around homes are vital in stopping the spread of wildfires this season.

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