The weather can be a fickle friend, especially in Saskatchewan – and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to co-operate with firefighters up North.
“Today we will be hot, today we will be dry, only a 10 to 30 per cent chance of precipitation if it arrives today,” explained Steve Roberts, with the Ministry of Environment on Saturday morning. “Add to that we have a chance of lighting in all of our full response zones throughout later this afternoon into this evening.”
If rain were to come, Roberts said it doesn’t always help.
“Rain gets forecasted but it is in such smaller, scattered amounts that the benefit that we often get from some of those rain showers are often augmented by high winds or shifts in winds that aren’t favourable for fire, or worse yet, they come with more lightning.”
He explained that they’re looking forward into next week when he said a completely new weather system would be needed to change the big picture they’re currently looking at.
Roberts said that most fires were stable overnight Friday. As of Saturday morning there were 122 fires burning – three more than the day before. Year-to-date Saskatchewan has had 611 wildfires, which is significantly more than the 220 we had at this time last year.
Roberts confirmed that four structures burned in the Bray fire – 66 structures have burned so far this year.
The last training will be finished today for volunteer firefighters so they can start helping out. Twenty-three strategists have arrived from the U.S. to help manage things on the ground. One aircraft group has been recalled back to Ontario according to Roberts, but he said it won’t hurt too much because of the extra bodies coming in.
Smoke was expected to be a problem on Saturday.
“Smoke loads in some communities will be extremely heavy to the point as we will not be able to fly aircraft, it may actually … affect road travel in some locations, and obviously affect any residents that still reside in the forested areas.”
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