REGINA – After wildfires wreaked havoc in Saskatchewan this summer, the province is responding by adding better firefighting coverage across the province and expanding its list of allies.
“If our resources are stretched to the limit that we can’t handle the situation here, then we would call on our partners,” said Environment Minister Herb Cox.
Saskatchewan will now be able to access and share resources with five neighbouring U.S. states to the south including, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.
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The other agreement signed is an international one, with South Africa and Mexico.
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After new infrastructure upgrades, Estevan is now considered a strategic location with its ability to land the air tanker Convair 580-A, which will provide better firefighting coverage for southern Saskatchewan.
“The issue we have in the south is that we actually have fires that occur early in the spring and late in the fall; grassland type fires. Having the ability based down here would improve our response time. We still come out of Prince Albert but the difference between Prince Albert and here might be 25 minutes,” explained Steve Roberts, the executive director with Wildfire Management.
Swift Current is also on the province’s list to be a strategic location, but Roberts says runway upgrades are required first.