It only takes a Spark to light a fire - take care

Greg Nikkel

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The country in southeast Saskatchewan is tinder dry, and the City of Weyburn has joined in with many of the Rural Municipalities around the region to institute a fire ban until further notice.

In addition to these municipalities, the Ministry of the Environment has also issued a fire ban for all provincial Crown lands, parks and recreation sites, affecting all areas south of the Churchill River down to the U.S. border.

The fire ban does include some exceptions, namely that propane-fired barbecues and fire pits are allowed, and self-contained heating devices — otherwise, all other forms of flame or fire are prohibited, including (for Weyburn at least) fireworks, since city council just approved a bylaw that will now allow family fireworks for occasions like New Year’s Eve and Day, and Canada Day.

It’s unfortunate that it’s so dry right now, because the upcoming Canada Day celebrations could have been special for a lot of families with fireworks, but the fire ban supercedes that bylaw, unless the Weyburn area gets a nice drenching before July 1st.

The Weyburn Fire Department, along with fire departments and municipalities throughout the region, are acting responsibly in light of how desperately dry everything is right now.

Some people may feel it’s an excessive prohibition to make, blanketing the area with a ban any open fire — but with the strong spring winds that have been blowing in the southeast area of late, it would take just a stray spark from a fire pit, or a careless cigarette or match tossed aside, to end up with a dangerous and damaging fire that could destroy property and endanger lives.

Nobody wants that to happen, but it takes caution on everyone’s part to keep the city and surrounding grassland areas safe.

Grass fires can start quickly, spread rapidly and burn very hot, making them especially dangerous.

The same principle as in sports applies here: the best defence is a good offence. In this case, be proactive and be safe, keeping the areas around properties clear of flammable items or of any potential sparks that could flare up into a fire.

Even sparks from a passing train or a vehicle’s hot exhaust can cause a fire, as farmers experience at times when harvesting in very dry conditions, or by campers or motorists who drive through areas with long, dry grass. There isn’t much grass yet, but with how dry everything is right now, it won’t take long until there are highly-dangerous conditions in place throughout the area.

If you do see a grass fire (or any other kind of fire), report it immediately by dialling 911. This will help local firefighters get to the scene as quickly as possible.

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