The Saskatchewan government slapped a fire ban on all Crown land south of the Churchill River to the U.S. border due to dry conditions, and had a teleconference yesterday.

The lack of moisture hasn't been quite as pronounced in southwest Saskatchewan as some other areas in the province - as of yesterday wildfires west of Prince Albert (by Rally) and inside Meadowlake Provincial Park remained uncontained - but the threat is still high.

Steve Roberts, executive director of wildfire management for the province, said things haven't been as bad in the southwest, as Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is not subject to a fire ban.

"Of all the areas, it's one of the reasons we have high hazard in that area but not extreme. So that's one of the reasons why Cypress Hills Park is excluded, because of their elevation and because there have been some systems that have skirted the southern part of the province, other hazard levels are lower."

As of yesterday there had been 148 fires on Crown land, compared to the five-year average of 86 at this point.

Last year wildfires took a toll on lives and land in the southwest, including around Burstall, Tompkins, and the R.M. of Waverly. But things might be even drier this year to start off the spring/summer season, as it took until later in the fire season for a provincially-enacted fire ban in 2017. The fire around Waverly and Glentworth was in September, and the Burstall and Tompkins fires were October.

Jennifer Johnson, assistant deputy minister for the parks division of the ministry of parks, culture, and sport, said they'd be communicating the fact that there is a fire ban to campers as the long weekend rolls around.

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