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Wildfire conditions rapidly changing in Saskatchewan

Wildfire in Saskatchewan. File / Global News

Saskatchewan is in the middle of a heat wave leading to the possibility of dry conditions.

“When we get these extended heat waves, the forest fuels will dry more” said Steve Roberts of Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

When this happens fires already underway can escalate and new fires can grow faster.

Read more: Ministry wants residents to still be careful despite slow fire season in northwestern Ontario

“Fires that start have the potential to grow faster, fires that are established have the ability to become more intense and get larger” said Roberts.

He says these types of fires require more aggressive action by the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

Roberts says fire hazards are based on two conditions, current weather, and fuel loading. He says rain can have a big impact on the level of wildfire hazard.

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“In the north if we get even one day of rain, we will drop a hazard significantly for a day or two” he said.

Roberts says southern parts of the forest are much different than the north.

Read more: At least 6 homes lost as wildfire near Lytton, B.C. balloons to 1,500 hectares

“Even if we get a hot day of 32, we’re not going to see that super super high hazard, but up north where the fuels are very dry, a day of hot equates to a day of extremely high hazard”.

The five-year average for wildfires in the province over the summer season is more than 400. Last summer, Saskatchewan had more than 600 wildfires. There are currently 60 wildfires burning in the province. There have been 232 wildfires so far this season.

Roberts says as conditions get dryer it’s important to be cautious and if you see or suspect there’s a fire, report it to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency 24 hour reporting line.

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