Hot and dry conditions in northern Saskatchewan are providing a good environment for wildfires.
There have been 18 fires in the region this month, with six still burning as of Tuesday afternoon. Last year at this time there were 25 fires.
Steve Roberts, Executive Director of the Wildfire Program for Saskatchewan, says conditions are not that much different than they were at this time last year.
“Snow pack in the early part of the winter was below average,” said Roberts. ” But in the last month is been average or better. We are slightly drier than we were last year, but not excessively so.”
The provincial government has made a few improvements to wildfire management following last year’s devastating blazes.
Changes include hiring eight more seasonal firefighting crews, purchasing new equipment and communicating better.
Roberts says air tanker and ground crews have been brought in earlier.
“That will put us in better response capacity to get to fires early and get them out quickly before they become larger,” said Roberts.
There were more than 600 wild fires last year in the province.
The cost to fight them came in at more than $100 million.