There are 156 active rural municipality fire bans and 50 active urban municipality fire bans in Saskatchewan as of July 29.
This is according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s daily municipal fire ban map, which can be found on its website.
Saskatchewan government placed a fire ban on the entire province on July 2 due to extreme heat and several wildfires throughout the province. It was lifted on July 19, but municipalities were allowed to keep them in place at their discretion.
“We have over 50 per cent of the RMS in this province set on fire bans due to the dry weather,” said Ray Orb, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) president.
“We’re probably going to have some more that put fire bans on next week because it doesn’t look like we’re getting any precipitation.”
As of Friday, there have been 478 wildfires in Saskatchewan in 2021, 114 of which are still active. It’s something Orb said may not be unprecedented, but is out of the ordinary.
“This is very serious. I would compare it, as many others have, to 1988, although in 1988 we had more moisture going into that year,” Orb said. “This year, it’s dry almost everywhere.”
Saskatchewan Agriculture said Thursday that prolonged drought conditions in the province have rapidly deteriorated crop conditions and the majority of crops are rated poor to fair.
“I understand there’s still a lot of active fires up in northern Saskatchewan. I think that haze has helped a bit in the sense of it protecting the crops because we’re not getting as much sun through,” Orb said.
“It makes it more uncomfortable for everyone else that has to breathe that in, so it’s not looking good, that’s for sure.”
Orb says all municipalities can hope for right now is precipitation to lift their fire bans.