The northern forest fire season could be above normal. The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said the snow melt for much of the region has been delayed largely due to cooler temperatures. However, flooding in the north is not expected.

Jeanette Krayetski, Manager of Intelligence and Situational Awareness with the SPSA explained that its difficult to predict the severity wildfires as it is early in the season.

“Once those forested areas are snow free, and we’re starting to see that that melt line. Now reports are that it is as far north as Buffalo Narrows, the daily weather becomes a predictor. So, in terms of forecasting the severity of our 2022 season, it is largely dependent now on the short term weather trends such as extended periods of heat, wind and the rain events into the spring,” said Krayteski. “If the summer weather trends are a little bit normal that’s being forecasted is that we could see an above wildfire season across the northern provincial forest.”

An El Nina weather trend is forecasted to bring above summer temperatures and precipitation to the North. “Northern Saskatchewan had heavier snowpack through the winter months, and experienced generally cooler spring temperatures, which have contributed to a slow melt and has delayed greenup,” Chris Clement, Executive Director of Projects and Public Relations with the SPSA.

Almost all seasonal wildfire employees are returning. Training is now complete and equipment in preparation for wildfires have been assigned. Clement is encouraging people to fire smart their homes and properties, by pruning branches and clearing debris. 50 percent of fires are human-caused, with the remainder attributed to lightning.