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Friday, February 27, 2015

Alberta prepares for wildfire season


Government of Alberta


Wildfire season in Alberta officially begins on March 1. In preparation, the Alberta government is busy positioning crews, aircraft and other equipment in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area for immediate deployment as required. The province is also training new firefighting personnel and staffing Alberta’s lookout towers in readiness for wildfire season. Albertans living, working or visiting the province’s forested areas are reminded to take extra care while burning this spring, as dry conditions and strong winds can fuel fast-burning grassfires. Industrial or commercial operations in Alberta should ensure their emergency response and wildfire management systems are fully operational to effectively respond to potential wildfire situations.

If found responsible for starting a wildfire, people or companies may be charged with the cost of fighting that fire and may be fined under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act.

As of March 1, fire permits are required within the Forest Protection Area for any type of burning except lighting a campfire. Permits are free and can be requested at any Environment and Sustainable Resource Development office.

During the 2014 fire season, the Alberta government responded to more than 1,400 wildfires in the Forest Protection Area, more than 60 per cent of which were caused by human activity. Those wildfires burned 23,117 hectares – a geographic area roughly one third the size of the City of Edmonton.

The fire season is scheduled to end October 31.

To report a wildfire in Alberta, call 310-FIRE. For information about fire bans and forest area closures in Alberta, visit albertafirebans.ca.

To learn more about preparing for an emergency, follow Alberta Emergency Alert online or download the smartphone app.

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