Be cautious to watch for winter burns

Winter burns left uncontrolled can cause wildfires in the spring.

Richard Froese

Just weeks before wildfire season starts, forestry official advise people to go back and check their winter burns.

“Wildfires can smoulder under the snow all winter long and emerge as a wildfire in the spring when conditions are warm and dry,” says Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry for the Slave Lake Forest Area.

“Do your part to prevent wildfires by ensuring your winter burn piles are extinguished.”

She advises property owners to take several steps of precaution.

When checking your winter burns, spread around any remaining debris so you can probe the area for hotspots.

Use your bare hand to feel for heat over the ash piles. If you see smoke or feel heat, the fire is still burning. Douse any remaining hotspots with water and stir up the ashes.

A fire is not out until there is absolutely no heat emanating from the ashes.

Anyone who has conducted brush pile or windrow burning over the winter in the Slave Lake Forest Area is requested to report all their burn locations to Slave Lake Forest Area wildfire technologist Russell Murphy by phone (780) 849-7457.


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