2012 wildfire season coming to a close
With wildfire season coming to an end in the province, the past few months have been categorized as average by wildfire officials in Saskatchewan.
There have been 390 wildfires in the province so far and while that is above last year’s total of 256, it is in line with the 10-year average.
“I’m happy to say that although the numbers are higher than last year, there has been no significant damage to public infrastructure or evacuation of communities during this year’s fire season,” said Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff, during a stop at the Prince Albert Wildfire Center on Wednesday.
Part of the credit goes to the provinces proactive preparedness program, which is based on early detection through a series of lookout towers scattered around the northern provincial forest. This is in addition to routine aerial patrols over high risk areas, continued public education and a public reporting system which further solidifies the program.
“We have a very well developed communication program that starts early in the spring, letting folks know about spring burning conditions,” explained Steve Roberts, executive director of the Wildfire Management Branch.
“We target recreationalists in the north and we also talk to industry folks on what they can do to help reduce fires.
Roberts says there were no incidents this year which required help from outside agencies and credits the wet spring which affected the southern part of the forest, allowing firefighters to help out the U.S. Forest Service with a number of fires throughout Montana.
“That’s part of the purpose behind the (Mutual Aid Resource Sharing) agreement,” Roberts explained.
“You share when you have capacity and you get to borrow when you have a desperate need.”
This agreement gave Saskatchewan the opportunity to assist other Canadian provinces and the United States of America during the 2012 wildfire season. The province sent personnel and aircraft to assist with fires in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia this summer, as well as Montana and Idaho under the international agreement.
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