Dry conditions and dead vegetation are making for challenging grass fire conditions in and around Saskatoon, according to the city’s assistant fire chief.
Wayne Rodger spoke to 650 CKOM on Friday, a day after crews from Saskatoon responded to several grass fires in rural areas to both the north and south.
“It’s always a challenging time of year for us,” he said. “The volume of combustible vegetation is just a recipe for spring fires.”
Rodger said the quick snow melt from warm temperatures and sunny skies have uncovered dry, dead growth from last growing season in many fields.
He suggested rural residents should cut back the dead growth away from buildings on their property, and avoid any unnecessary burning. He noted the slightest spark could set off a blaze.
Sparks from off-road vehicles and discarded cigarettes also pose a big risk to starting a grass fire, he added.
He said city firefighters have training to deal with grass fires, which require a different approach.
“It’s different strategies and tactics altogether,” he said, noting crews have to have an understanding of natural fire breaks and wind velocities.
Rodger said grass fire season will continue until a combination of rain and new growth push the danger away.
“From a visual concept … it’s when you start to see green.”