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Grain dryer fires keeping Saskatchewan fire departments busy

Grain dryer fires keeping Saskatchewan fire departments busy
Kevin Hursh said the number of fires is not surprising, given the high number of dryers operating for long hours around Saskatchewan. . Wadena Fire Department / Supplied

Some smaller fire departments around Saskatchewan are dealing with grain dryer fires.

Fire departments in Kindersley, Wadena and Buckland, north of Prince Albert, have posted pictures of grain dryer blazes in the last week.

Kevin Hursh said the number of fires is not surprising, given the high number of dryers operating for long hours around the province.

READ MORE: Crews deal with exploding fireworks during ‘stubborn blaze’: Saskatoon Fire Department

He said there is a lot of grain drying going on because of the wet harvest.

“Three of the four grain companies here say that in their market areas there’s hardly a dry bushel of grain. Almost all of the grain came off at higher than safe moisture levels,” said Hursh, who is a farmer and agricultural journalist.

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“When grain is above its safe moisture content it will not store for any length of time without going bad, rotting, heating, it could even burn.”

Farmers on the Prairies have had to deal with heavy snow and rain, leaving several million acres buried until the spring.

In Saskatchewan, 12 per cent of the canola was unharvested as of Nov. 5, according to the provincial government.

Some harvesting occurred after the latest provincial estimates, but the volume of unharvested crops looks to be the most in three years, said Shawn Jaques, chief executive of Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp.

Crops that remain in fields over the winter are subject to wildlife damage and to spoilage, but some of it can usually be salvaged at a discount.

—With files from Reuters