Resolutions

Fire Guard for Northern Saskatchewan

Year: 2016

Resolution

Whereas a fire guard is critical to northern communities and their residents for safety and public health due to forest fires; and

Whereas the forest fires in 2015 came very close to a lot of northern communities resulting in major evacuations of residents for safety; and

Whereas all northern communities only have one access route to the south for residents for evacuation purposes; and

Whereas providing adequate protection for the communities would minimize the need for evacuations and also protect property and infrastructure; 

Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association advocate with the Government of Saskatchewan to develop and maintain adequate fire guards around all northern communities.

Provincial Response

Thank you for your interest in partnering with the ministry to advocate for the development of wildfire guards around northern communities. Wildfire threat reduction and mitigation is a shared responsibility of all users and stakeholders in Saskatchewan’s northern provincial forest. Our Wildfire Management Branch provides provincial expertise and education in applying FireSmart principles and mitigation strategies in remote and wildland/urban interface communities. 

It is our hope that all Saskatchewan interface communities strive to become part of the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program, which empowers communities to reduce their risk from wildfire. This was proven in 2015 by the northern community of Wadin Bay. On May 2, 2015, Wadin Bay was recognized as the province’s first Fire Smart community under this program. Community members worked together with Wildfire Management experts to complete a wildfire risk assessment, appointing a FireSmart Committee, and a creating and implementing the plan to reduce the risks. The community’s hard work paid off in June 2015 when Wadin Bay was directly impacted by wildfire. Due to the outstanding efforts of local people and the incorporation of FireSmart practices, only one structure burned. This success story could be a reality of every community in the wildland/urban interface. 

This assessment helps establish priorities for required fire guard and fuel break construction locations. Wildfire Management Branch is budgeted yearly to complete some fuel management projects on Crown land adjacent to at-risk communities. It is important to note that fire guards and fuel breaks need to be established as close as possible to the edge of the target community in order to be effective.
Wildfire Management Branch has tools to help communities determine adequate response mitigation options to reduce wildfire threat. The Guide to Managing Wildfire Risk is designed to help community leaders manage wildfire risk within their jurisdiction. Information on this and other FireSmart tools is available at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/firesmart

To discuss mitigation and prevention options, communities are encouraged to contact Mr. Larry Fremont, our Wildfire Education, Prevention and Mitigation Coordinator at larry.fremont@gov.sk.ca or 306-953-3245.

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