Regarding fires: what you can do and what you can’t

Fires were burning about 23 km southeast of East Prairie Metis Settlement as seen in the photo by Alberta Wildfire on May 2 taken at 4:30 p.m. The fire was classified as being held. Being held means, given weather conditions at the time and resources, the wildfire was not expected to grow past expected boundaries as the fire reached about 40 hectares.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Outdoor fire restrictions in the Slave Lake and Peace River forest areas were placed May 2 as the fire danger rose to very high.

The danger in the Peace River area climbed to extreme on May 4 and in the Slave Lake area on May 3.

“Existing fire permits are suspended,” Peace River wildfire information officer Michelle Huley says in a news release May 2.

“The fire restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.”

Slave Lake wildfire information officer Leah Lovequist advises people to be careful in forest areas.

“Firefighters urge everyone to use caution when working or recreating in the outdoors,” she says.

“Under dry conditions, a fire will ignite easily and spread quickly under windy conditions.”

Permits for essential agricultural burning may be considered with written authorization from a forest officer.

Safe wood campfires within fire rings in campgrounds are allowed.

However, all outdoor wood fires are banned on public lands, including backcountry and random camping areas.

The use of fireworks and exploding targets is also prohibited.

Several types of fires are also allowed:
-Safe wood campfires, including charcoal briquettes, on private lands in provincial campgrounds.
-Backyard firepits and charcoal briquette barbecues.
-Propane and natural gas powered appliances.
-Indoor wood fires contained within a device with a chimney and spark arrestor.
-Cooking, warming and lighting devices – all devices must be Canadian Standards Association approved and used according to manufacturer’s standards.

Never leave a campfire unattended. Soak it, stir it and soak it again until cool to the touch to ensure it is extinguished.

During fire restrictions, people are advised to be cautious when driving off-highway vehicles in forest areas.

“Remember to stop often and check hot spots,” Huley says.

“Debris heated by the exhaust system can inadvertently start a wildfire when it falls to the ground.”

Fire permits are still available, by request from local forest area offices in Peace River at (780) 624-6190, High Prairie at (780) 523- 6619 and Slave Lake at (780) 849-7377.

“If you are burning without a fire permit or not following permit conditions, your fire could be considered a wildfire and you could be fined and may be responsible for the cost of fighting the fire,” Huley says.

Anyone who sees a wildfire is asked to report it immediate by phone to 310-FIRE (3473).

A map showing areas under fire restrictions may be seen online at albertafirebans.ca.

For more information, phone Lovequist at (1-780) 849-0945 or Huley at (1-780) 618-2081.

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