Saskatoon crews battle grass fires fuelled by dry, windy conditions

SASKATOON – A combination of warm, dry and windy conditions kept fire crews busy throughout the day Tuesday. The Saskatoon Fire Department battled four grass fires in one day, according to assistant chief Dave Bykowy.

At times, the wind gusted up to 30 kilometres per hour. A lack of snow this winter has the fire department expecting more grass fires than last year, Bykowy said.

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    The first fire sparked up just after 8:15 a.m. CT, about 10 km southwest of Saskatoon near Buck’s Auto Parts. A piece of machinery backed into a power pole, which appears to have started the fire. Crews were on scene for nearly three-and-a-half hours.

    Elsewhere, “what started as controlled burns became uncontrolled burns,” Bykowy said.

    A fire at Grasswood Road and Clarence Avenue just before 11 a.m. was extinguished in under 40 minutes.

    Another blaze was spotted west of Valley Road just before noon, while another burned on Auction Mart Road, just west of the Dalmeny Grid intersection. Both were still being battled at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

    There were no reported injuries or damage to structures.

    Nine grass fires have started up in the Saskatoon area so far in 2016.

    Officials are reminding people to be cautious and consider putting off controlled burns until conditions are more suitable.