‘Extreme’ conditions lead to Warman, Sask, fire ban

Chief Russ Austin said a lot is taken into consideration when the Warman Fire Department asks to have a fire ban implemented. File / Global News

The City of Warman, just north of Saskatoon, says a fire ban was enacted on Monday due to “extreme” dryness.

Warman Fire Department chief Russ Austin said the conditions are prime for ignition these days.

Read more: Severe drought conditions persist in parts of Saskatchewan heading into seeding

“The snow seemed to leave early and what we did have didn’t get absorbed in,” he said on Tuesday.

“Basically, we’re in a condition this spring where we’re somewhere around 15 per cent of our normal precipitation up to this point and conditions being extremely dry.

“We’ve had to implement fire bans both inside and outside of Warman … in the (surrounding rural municipality) RM of Corman Park.”

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The fire chief said they’ve seen multiple fires in the city and neighbouring communities due to the conditions; however, none have led to injury or structure damage.

“Basically, through the efforts of the firefighters in each of these circumstances, heroic efforts I might say, there has been no loss of life and no loss of any major structures at the fires that we’ve been to. So we’ve been able to prevent the big damage,” Austin said.

“However, the property damage, I guess, would be substantial as far as land and trees and things like that.

“In our area, we’ve had probably half a dozen that we’ve worked with our neighbours and hence we’ve had to do the ban.” 

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According to Austin, a lot of consideration and research goes into implementing fire bans and it’s something they don’t take lightly.

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“We look at trends, weather patterns, information that we get from the provincial government as far as forecasting and modelling goes. And that’s what we use to make our decisions for making a fire ban so if it’s got to the point where we’ve made a fire ban, there’s a very good reason for it,” he said.

“If people decide to not follow the fire ban, financial losses as far as having to pay for all the fire suppression would be the least of your issues.

“Especially if you start a fire and it ends up taking someone’s life. That’s something you’d have to live with forever.”

Austin said he’s not aware of anyone in their area of Corman Park who’s broken the fire bans.

“Being that it’s so dry and no rain in sight, I think the bans are going to last until everything’s green or until we get some considerable rain,” he said.

As of May 4, the provincial government’s website said there are 83 RMs with active fire bans in Saskatchewan.

For the latest conditions and warnings, download the SkyTracker weather app.

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