Sask. crews help with wildfires in United States
REGINA -- Saskatchewan Government has dispatched two air tankers and a plane with eight staff to help out with wildfires in the United States, according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.
“Currently we have received requests from our state partners in both Washington and Oregon in the united states, in response to that the Saskatchewan government has dispatched two air tankers, and an elite plane with associated staff to assist with those state fires,” Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency acting vice-president of operations Steve Roberts said during a tele-conference on Friday.
The crews will be stationed in Washington state and will manage and supply support to both Washington and Oregon as required.
The move comes as the agency said the province has recorded a below-average number of wildfires this summer.
So far in 2020, the agency said Saskatchewan has experienced a total of 125 wildfires, well below the five-year average of 405 wildfires. It said only one significant fire has happened in 2020, which burned east of Prince Albert in May.
“We’ve also seen a drop in the number of human caused activity fires. Some of that is related to COVID in the province restricting people’s movements, and having people stay close to home. But also the fact that unfavourable rainy weather is not really conducive to folks being out on the landscape,” Roberts said.
The agency is dealing with higher than average precipitation in Northern Saskatchewan, resulting in flooding and high water levels and reduced wildfires.
Wildfire crews have been diverted throughout the summer to help with flooding in the north.
Between flooding issues, wildfires and search and rescue calls, the agency has responded to more than 20 events since June 1.