In the wake several grass fires doused by North Battleford Fire and Emergency Services over the past couple of weeks, Fire Chief Pat MacIssac has issued a caution to the public, describing the fire risk as extreme.
High winds and dry conditions are creating a serious hazard, according to the fire chief. He is urging the public to be aware that the situation is serious.
"All fires have the potential to get out of control very quickly," a City press release states.
A dozen firefighters, using seven apparatus, spent seven hours at one such fire Monday starting at about 1:30 p.m. It took five hours to bring the blaze, raging 16 kilometres north on Highway 378, under control. High winds fanned the blaze, according to firefighter Bradley Jalbert in a NBFES press release.
Battlefords fire crews were forced to deal with two major grassfires on the weekend, both of which affected about 20 acres of land each.
The first weekend fire broke out at around 11a.m. Saturday just three kilometres north of North Battleford near the SaskTel cell tower.
The fire burned rapidly and consumed 20 acres of pastureland before being controlled by department staff. Six apparatus and 11 personnel were on the scene, as were WPD Ambulance and SaskTel.
The cause of the fire was accidental. The fire department attributes the blaze to SaskTel contractors cutting a pipe on location with an acetylene torch, which accidentally set the grass ablaze. The fire burned rapidly, according to the fire department, due to strong winds. No injuries were reported.
Another grass fire broke out Sunday around 5:50 p.m. about 12 kilometers east on Forest Hall Road north of the city.
In that blaze grass and stubble burned on 20 acres of land. This time, farm machinery was involved and also suffered damage in the blaze.
Five fire apparatus and 13 personnel were on the scene for three hours Sunday, as were WPD Ambulance. No injuries were reported.
Smoke also engulfed Sauteaux First Nation Saturday, but no details of that blaze were available at press time.