Recent grass fires that swept through the Lumsden valley and the area around Dundurn are an example of the tinder dry conditions this spring.
Duane McKay, provincial commissioner of emergency management and fire safety, explained the risk of grass fires is higher because of the sudden transition from very cold temperatures to warm weather with the spring run-off drying out quickly. Even in areas where soil moisture isn’t necessarily a big concern, McKay said the leaves, grass and wood on the ground is very dry.
“So we’re seeing fires – this type of grass fire thing going on pretty much right across the entire southern part of the province,” McKay said.
He said municipal fire bans are a good proactive step to take in areas where the risk of fires is particularly high.
“People probably aren’t paying attention – which they should – in terms of what the burning conditions are, so we may see that. We encourage municipalities to measure that risk and put those bans in when necessary,” McKay said.
Unfortunately, there is no significant rain in the forecast for May, so there could be more fire bans introduced in the weeks to come.
Some of the other fire prevention tips McKay offered included disposing of cigarette butts carefully, keeping wood piles and leaf piles away from buildings and reporting controlled burns by phone so local fire departments are aware.