Still time to use extreme caution

When preparing for winter burning, choose a location that is on high ground 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

People planning to do winter burning outside are being advised by Alberta Wildfire officials to hold off until the ground has enough snow.

Firefighters continue to recommend that people delay winter burning until the ground has a minimum of 15 cm of snow on the ground, says a news release Jan. 29 from Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer for the Slave Lake Forest Protection Area.

“Under the current conditions of low snow cover an above-zero temperatures, there is a risk of unintended fire spread,” Lovequist says.

“You’re co-operation to prevent wildfires is greatly appreciated.”

Temperatures were predicted to fall below zero starting Feb. 3 and dip as low as – 11 C for the first two weeks of February, according to the Weather Network on Feb. 2.

“To prevent spring wildfires, make sure to check your winter burn sites frequently and ensure that all fires are completely extinguished,” Lovequist says.

“Due to extremely dry conditions in the ground, holdover fires are likely to occur,” Lovequist says.

“To prevent spring wildfires, make sure to check your winter burn sites frequently and ensure that all fires are completely extinguished.”

A fire lit in the winter and left smouldering will dig in and burn deep into the ground under the snow all winter long.

Under the right conditions, those fires can re-emerge in the spring as wildfires.

Burns must be monitored the entire time.

Fire permits are not required for burning in the Forest Protection Area from Nov. 1 to February 29.

Even though a permit is not required, people are still responsible for any fires they cause outside the wildfire season.

Before starting a burn within 800 metres from a roadway, ensure smoke warning signs are in place for traffic.

For more information, on smoke management and to acquire signs, contact the local municipality,

While burning:
-Have someone monitor the burn the entire time – if it escapes, immediately report it by telephone to 310-FIRE (3473).
-Burn only what you can control with available equipment and people and adjust to weather conditions.
-Build it right. Brush piles or debris windrows should be free of soil, built to a maximum height of three metres with a fireguard or cleared land around it to stop the spread of fire.

A fire lit in the winter and left smouldering will dig in and burn deep in the ground under the snow all winter long.

Under the right conditions, fires can re-emerge in the spring as wildfires.

To prevent spring wildfires, make sure to check your winter burn sites frequently and ensure that all fires are completely extinguished.

After you burn:
-Spread remaining material within the pile and soak with water as required.
-Check the area and ensure both heat and smoke are no longer being produced by the pile – it should be cool to the touch.

Check the burn site multiple times in the following weeks to ensure it has not re-ignited.

For more information, contact Lovequist by phone at (780) 840-0945 or e-mail to leah.lovequist @gov.ab.ca.

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