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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service cautions people about wildland fires during dry spring

Click to play video: 'Dry spring and brush fire prevention' Dry spring and brush fire prevention
WATCH: Winnipeg firefighters have already battled a few brush fires this spring. WFPS's Derek Grignon explains how you can help prevent them – Mar 24, 2021

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is reminding residents to be cautious when it comes to wildland fires.

Although spring has only just begun, emergency crews have already responded to wildland fires due to the fairly mild and dry conditions Winnipeg has been experiencing.

“Going by a three-year average, we have responded to hundreds of fires during spring months,” public education officer Derek Grignon told Global News Morning.

Grignon said these blazes offer lots of challenges for first responders since many of their trucks can’t access fields or forests.

Read more: Grass fire near Perimeter Highway likely human-caused, say Winnipeg firefighters

“It’s quite manpower intensive. At times we have to go out there with backpacks with water and brooms to put them out,” he said.

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WFPS also has some equipment purchased last year — called The Bison — to tackle these exact fires.

“It’s basically a heavy-duty pickup. It carries water in the back and has systems to automatically shoot water while going over tough terrain,” Grignon explained.

The ideal though would be to prevent the fires from happening in the first place.

Read more: Southern Manitoba experiencing moderate to severe drought: climate researcher

“For smokers, don’t discard the butts out car windows or along walking trails. Make sure they are disposed of properly,” Grignon said.

“If you live near a forest or open field, keep your yards clean. This could help any flying fire debris from catching other things on fire and potentially spreading to your home.”

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There are also things homeowners can do if they use a fire pit in their backyard.

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“You should have some kind of spark screen and some kind of water source or extinguisher on hand should [a fire] get out of control.”

Wildland fires have been reported outside of the city as well, including this past weekend near Portage la Prairie and the RM of Woodlands.

Fire officials remind people to never hesitate to call 911 if there’s a fire or some kind of emergency.

 

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