Canada /USA ––A lack of major forest fires in the province is good news to those south of the border.
According to a news release, three Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment planes have gone to the U.S. to help fight wildfires there. The planes will work with U.S. Forest Service for 10 to 14 days, with a possibility of an extension.
Current forest conditions in Saskatchewan have allowed the ministry to make some of its resources, including these aircraft, available to assist other jurisdictions.
In the last few days, we have received precipitation across the majority of our forested areas in the north, said Scott Wasylenchuk, provincial fire centre manager. This has given us a chance to export to other agencies that are requiring help at this time.
A pair of Convair 580A air tankers and one Turbo Commander bird-dog aircraft, along with eight crew members, left Tuesday for Boise, Idaho. On Wednesday, staff were briefed before being deployed to Grand Junction, Colo. to work under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service.
Wasylenchuk said its common practice to share firefighting equipment because of existing resource-sharing agreements between Canada and the U.S.
Whenever one of these other agencies are in need and we have the resources, we will export when we can, he explained. Last year we were in Alaska and Texas.
Wasylenchuk said there are currently eight fires burning in the province but there are no fires of note at this time.
Forest fire season generally runs from late April until September and to date there have been 140 fires, which is normal for this time of year.
The majority of them have been human caused, said Wasylenchuk.
We always ask people when they are in or around the forest to make sure that any fires that they do have are fully extinguished before they leave them.
He said another cause for forest fires is lightning and those generally start in the middle of June.