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Scientists predict high risk of wildfires in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Environmental scientists say Lloydminster residents should watch out for wildfires this summer as they project higher than average risks.

Natural Resources Canada has released their forecast maps for the summer which shows well above average wildfire risks in large parts of Western Canada. The data is based on the climate in the area which is a 30 year average of the weather.

The monthly fire risk forecasts from Natural Resources Canada. (Natural Resources Canada)

Brian Simpson, the wildland fire manager with Natural Resources Canada’s Northern Forestry Centre, says there is always a risk for fires in Alberta and Saskatchewan but the maps indicate more fires may occur this year.

“We always expect some fires and we expect some this year as well. The potential for fire is higher than normal so there may be more or more intense fires than there would have been otherwise.”

He says the warm and dry weather recently seen in the Lloydminster area means there is a greater risk. He also says the wind plays a factor in fire risk. 

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“If there is rain then the danger is going to be low on that day and for a few days afterwards. Because the weather changes very rapidly these types of climate forecasts tend to be reasonably accurate over large areas.”

Simpson says the forecasts in August and September are less reliable at the moment but Natural Resources Canada will update the maps monthly as more data is collected.

Residents are reminded to know if there is a fire ban in their area, fully extinguish campfires and not to throw out cigarette butts in grass or forested areas. More tips are provided on FireSmart Canada.

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