Thursday, May 5, 2016

Alberta announces provincewide fire ban and additional measures to reduce risk

Alberta Government

Effective immediately, the province is applying a fire ban across Alberta.

All fire permits are suspended and no new fire permits will be issued. All open fires, including campfires and charcoal briquettes, are prohibited.

The use of incendiary targets is also banned. These targets explode when shot with a firearm and have been known to create fires.

UPDATED:  In addition, the province is urging the public to avoid Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs) use as much as possible. If they must be used, remove burnable debris from hot spots. All OHVs in Alberta are required to have a functional muffler and spark arresters.   A temporary province wide restriction on off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreational use on public lands and provincial parks is another tool the province will use to help prevent the spread of wildfires.  This action comes in response to the request of the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association and follows the government’s province wide fire ban and ban on incendiary targets on all provincial Crown lands issued May 5.

“Albertans stand with the people of Fort McMurray who have been evacuated and our first responders as they work to protect Albertans and critical infrastructure. The single best thing we all can do to help protect Alberta from wildfires is to ensure we are not creating additional risk.” - Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

“Our firefighters are currently focused on fighting wildfires across the province, including the estimated 85,000-hectare fire near Fort McMurray. With extreme fire hazard conditions persisting, it is prudent that we take these steps to help reduce the risk of additional fires.” - Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Environment and Parks will be deploying additional Conservation Officers to enforce the fire ban in parks and protected areas. This will not affect resources that are being used to fight wildfires.

Portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and barbecues designed for cooking or heating are allowed.

The fire ban applies to Alberta’s Forest Protection Area and all counties, municipal districts and special areas such as provincial parks and recreation areas. The fire ban does not apply to cities, towns, villages or summer villages or federal lands such as national parks.

The fire ban will remain in place until further notice.

When Albertans are out this weekend, they are urged to take additional steps to reduce their impact on potential wildfires on public land:
  • Check Alberta Fire Bans before going out, and follow ALL instructions.
  • If camping, do not leave cooking stoves or lanterns unattended.
  • Avoid OHV use as much as possible.
  • Do not throw out lit cigarettes.

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