[Grass fire at Ring Road – Regina – Sept 3, 2017, by Sharon Gerein @ CBC News]

Today (Sept 15, 2017) the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment sent out an email titled “Saskatchewan Fire Safety and Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance” to hunters already in their database:

Dear hunter,

Our records show that you have previously purchased a Saskatchewan hunting licence. If you plan to hunt this fall please read the following important information.

Saskatchewan is experiencing severely dry conditions throughout much of the province. These conditions increase the potential risk of fires.

With hunting season underway, hunters are reminded to take extra precautions.

Carry a fire extinguisher, shovel or other tools in your vehicle.
Walk whenever possible.
Avoid unnecessary vehicle idling.
Mufflers and other parts can get hot enough to start a fire.
Keep your vehicle out of tall grass – stick to roads and trails.
When setting up your camp, pick an area free of tall grass.
Always be aware of current conditions in advance of any hunting trips, as conditions may continue to get drier in the province. Hunters are reminded to get landowner permission to access private land.

Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance

Any cervid (i.e. deer, elk or moose) harvested in Saskatchewan can be tested free of charge for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of deer, elk and moose. Priority surveillance zones include; WMZ 12, 13, 14E and 14W in the south-west, WMZ 16, 31 and 33 in the south-east and WMZ 50, 63 and 64 in the north-central. Please visit here for drop off locations.

All hunters that harvest cervids in these zones are asked to submit samples for testing. A new sample tracking system has been implemented which eliminates the need to fill out paperwork at ministry offices. Please visit cwdsk.ca to access the tracking system and review correct procedures for submitting samples.

Please visit the CWD webpage on the Government of Saskatchewan website for more information.

If you have questions, please call the Ministry of Environment general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224.

Thank you for your cooperation!

ACTIVE Network

This message has been approved by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

This message affirms what we already know out there: it’s the driest season on record. The fire risk is real, as all these smoky days remind us.

RGSL would also ask that all target shooters exercise caution, as munitions themselves often cause fires. This is especially the case with larger calibres, and extreme caution should be used around jacketed rounds which tend to spark – as well as more flammable products like binary exploding targets, or tracer rounds. As an extreme example in nearby just-as-dry Alberta, live ordnance caused a massively destructive grass fire that killed a number of cattle. This was just the other day near CFB Suffield.

Saskatchewan has had a number of grass fires, with recent examples scattered all over the southern half of the province. As hunting season opens up, we will likely experience a continuation of the dry environment. Please take extra care not to start fires this Fall.

RGSL runs Non-Restricted and Restricted gun license safety courses in Regina and Saskatoon. Check out the list of upcoming classes here.