Ideal weather conditions are in the forecast this May long weekend, perfect for a backyard fire.
Based on the Fire Danger Level in Winkler, Fire Chief Richard Paetzold says, "It's all systems go."
Paetzold explains the Fire Danger Levels are broken into 'Levels 1-4' with a 'fire pit ban' coming at the end of '4'.
Because everything is greening up, Paetzold says it takes a lot longer now to get to a higher danger level. "Level 1 for us, it's probably less than," answered Paetzold when asked what the Level was on Friday (May 19th) morning.
He says if a fire pit is built according to what the city's by-law requires, backyard fires are still permitted under Fire Danger Level 4.
"You know, on a non-combustible pad, ensuring it's a proper distance away from structures and fences, and you have a method of extinguishment close by, then they should be safe," noted Paezold. Fires should also be properly supervised.
Paetzold says if the Danger Level continues to trend at Level 4, that's when they implement a total fire pit ban. He says so far this year, that's not something they've had to do.
"There's always those couple weeks in spring where the snow is gone. There's no green grass to slow down a fire, and there's just all the old dead grass. And that's why grass fires can spread so quickly. Now that there's green grass in there, it's not that fires can't start, it's just that they don't run away quite as quickly."
Paetzold says the current Fire Danger Level, as well as what they each mean, can be found on the Winkler Fire Department's website.