After last year’s devastating drought hit the majority of areas in the province, many are wondering what is to come for the summer of 2022.
According to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA), the province is in the clear when it comes to flood risk, and a normal fire season is expected.
Northern parts of Saskatchewan saw more snowpack and are experiencing a delayed thaw, meaning the area will green later than others.
Central areas are seeing a more average spring thaw while some snow remains in tree lines and bush areas, while the south has been snow-free for many weeks.
Some southern areas could be at a higher risk of grass fires until dead and dry vegetation turns green.
“When wildfires happen, protecting human life and communities is always the top priority for the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency. Followed by protecting critical public infrastructure, commercial timber, remote structures and natural resources,” said SPSA executive director of projects and public relations Chris Clemett.
The number of fires seen this summer could be influenced by weather, wind and human activity.
Clemett said since there is no lightning at this time of year, the majority of fires are human-caused.
High-risk areas could change to low risk, but the SPSA said it is difficult to predict since it all depends on short-term weather patterns.
The agency is urging people to clear their yards of dry and dead debris, prune their trees and be hyper-focused when putting out campfires.
Just over 300 seasonal staff members are returning to help put out fires this summer and are ready to respond when needed.
In the case of a wildfire, the SPSA and members will be responding with highly trained wildland fighters, a fleet of land-based air tankers, water-skimming aircrafts, seven birddog planes, helicopters, heavy equipment and other fixed-wing aircraft.
While the fleet is the same for this year’s fire season, two more aircraft will be delivered in the fall and ready for use in 2023.