Be careful when winter burning

When preparing for winter burning, choose a location that is on high ground and so the pile can be 25 metres or more away from structures and standing trees. Surround the pile with a fireguard that is at least 15 metres wide on top of bare mineral soil.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Anyone who plans winter burning is advised to be cautious.
Peace River and Slave Lake Forest Protection Areas remind people to take proper and safe steps when winter burning.
Although a fire permit is not required in the winter, people who ignite and monitor fires before March 1 are responsible.
Before starting a fire, people are required to notify their local forest area office to report the scheduled start and end dates, description of materials to be burned and legal land description.
To report a planned burned, phone the Peace River office at [780] 624-6190, High Prairie Prairie office at [780] 523-6619 or Slave Lake office at [780] 849-7377.
People are also advised to check with the local municipal office and/or roadway maintenance company to ensure notification systems are in place.
Other tips include:

  • Check the weather before you ignite a fire;
  • Burn only when wind speed is less than 15 km/h;
  • Check for the potential of a temperature inversion. In case of an inversion, smoke can be trapped at the ground level where it can cause health and driving hazards;
  • Have someone on site to monitor the burn the entire time;
  • If the fire escapes, immediately report it to the local forest area office;
  • Have adequate tools, water and equipment on site when burning;
  • Only burn what you can control with the available equipment, people, and weather conditions;
  • After the burn, spread out the remaining material within the pile;
  • Check the burn site several times in the following weeks to ensure the fire has not reignited.
    With the risk of inversions and reduced visibility on roadways due to smoke from a burn, it’s important to follow best practices:
  • Be sure smoke warning signs are in place before burning with 800 m from a roadway;
  • Ensure good snow cover in the burn area [more than 15 cm].
    If you notice smoke reducing visibility on roads, phone Alberta Transportation at [780] 644-1851.
    For any questions about proper burning procedures, visit www.wildfire.alberta.ca or phone 310-0000. For additional information, phone the local forest area office.
    If you see suspicious smoke or flames in your area, report it by phoning 310-FIRE [3473].

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