The lack of recent moisture and warm weather in southwestern Saskatchewan has the region in extreme fire danger.

That's according to Natural Resources Canada, who released a map late last week that listed most of Saskatchewan and Alberta in that same class.

These conditions have persisted on and off in the southwest since 2017 due to a lack of precipitation leading to drought.

Someone that's seen the devastation of countless grass fires over the last several years is Louis Cherpin, the fire chief for the RM of Swift Current Fire Department. And his crew has already dealt with one this spring by Wymark just last week.

"Until we get rain, the grass is very dry and there is no moisture in it from last year," he said. "We need some moisture to green up the ditches and roadways. That's always an early spring worry is the fires that start because of the dryness."

The long-time firefighter pointed to a few things that can spark grass fires including discarding cigarette butts improperly, blown tires, chains from trailers dragging, and farm machinery moving on grid roads. Residents can play a part in not only avoiding some of these instances but also help contain fires.

"Bring your assets, whether it's a high-speed disc or manpower," he said. "We always need help at the beginning of the fire to help get it under control... Preventing is the best cure but we always know you can't prevent everything. Just be prepared and catch it early so the loss is less."

Once on the scene of the fire, crews will determine the wind direction/speed and push the flames towards natural fire barriers such as roads or bodies of water if possible.

NCR MapMap courtesy of Natural Resources Canada