Saskatchewan has set a new record for total area burned by wildfires in a single season.

In 2023, more than 1.9 million hectares of land were scorched in the province. Beating the previous record of 1.8 million hectares set in 2015.

“This is one of the busiest seasons I’ve experienced,” said Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency vice president of operations Steve Roberts — a 20-year veteran.

Province-wide, 493 wildfires burned. Well surpassing the five-year average of 388.

The SPSA said 55 per cent of them were human-caused.

“We think of the savings, the reduction of risk and threat should 55 per cent of our fires not have occurred,” Roberts said. “If people were more cautious with the use of fire.”

Roberts added factors, such as climate change, continue to impact the number and severity of wildfires.

In an announcement earlier this month, the government of British Columbia said it created a special task force to bring more proactive approaches to fighting fires in the future.

"This group will be responsible for producing action-oriented recommendations," said BC Minister of Emergency Preparedness Browinn Ma. "The intention will is to implement them before the 2024 wildfire season."

The SPSA said it conducts reviews of its wildfire responses often.

Roberts hopes to work closely with industry partners to mitigate fire risks in the future, adding they will work with communities to ensure evacuations are better executed.

“The fire may still occur,” he said. “But the impact side is being addressed.”

This includes the use of new technology, such as satellites, to better detect fires.

“We are always looking at continued improve to how we respond to fires,” Roberts added.

The SPSA reminded residents fire risk is still high, even as the weather cools.

Hunters and campers should remain fire-safe into the fall.