Fire hazard rises to high in Peace

The map shows the boundaries of Slave Lake Forest Area and Peace River Forest Area, two of 10 in Alberta. The map is provided by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Warmer weather has raised the wildfire danger to high in the Slave Lake Forest Area.

Fire bans remain in effect until further notice, say news release May 6 from wildfire information officers Leah Lovequist for Slave Lake and Crystal Burrows for Peace River.

Fire bans have been placed on all forest protection areas, provincial parks and protected areas.

Fire permits are suspended or cancelled.

However, essential agricultural and industrial burning is allowed, but will need to be approved by a forest officer.

“Firefighters urge everyone to use caution as the dead grass will ignite easily and a fire will spread quickly under windy conditions,” Lovequist and Burrows say.

“Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is monitoring conditions, including available firefighting crews and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As part of Alberta Wildfire’s Response Plan to COVID-19, a fire ban was issued April 15.

The measure aims to reduce the number of human caused wildfires as most, if not all, wildfires in the early spring are caused by human activity,” Lovequist and Burrows say.

Restrictions will be amended when appropriate.

Prohibited:

  • -Wood campfires on public lands.
  • -Wood campfires on private land and provincial campgrounds.
  • -Backyard firepits.
  • -Barbeques with charcoal briquettes.

Allowed:

  • -Appliances powered by propane or natural gas.
  • -Open flame CSA-approved oil devices.
  • -Wood fires in an enclosed facility or device, which have a chimney with a spark arrestor.

Off-highway vehicles are currently allowed in the forest protection area with no restrictions

As of right now, all Albertans may enjoy using their off-highway vehicles, including snow machines, on public land until conditions change.

An off-highway vehicle restriction in the Forest Protection Area will be reintroduced if there is a hazard increase.

This phased approach will allow us to address the wildfire risk area-by-area, allowing Albertans the freedom to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. We will re-evaluate daily.

These steps are part of a number of actions the department is implementing to help mitigate wildfire risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking action in advance to reduce the number of human- caused wildfires will allow Alberta Wildfire to make the best possible use of resources when the availability of firefighters could be reduced because of the pandemic.

Report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE [3743].

For more information on the current wildfire situation across Alberta, visit the website www.wildfirestatus.alberta.ca.

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