Take caution during wildfire season

Richard Froese
Spotlight Staff
Warmer weather has quickly exposed dead dry grass, which could cause a fire hazard, indicate reports from Alberta Forestry.

“Use caution when working or recreating in areas of exposed grass as the temperatures rise the grass becomes dry and flammable,” says Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer for the Slave Lake Forest Area.

Firefighters are taking advantage of the snow-free conditions and will be burning areas of dry grass in and around many communities in the Slave Lake Forest Area over the next several weeks.

“Burning helps to remove the dangerous build-up of dry grass that becomes prominent around many communities in the spring,” Lovequist says.

Citizens are also reminded that fire permits are required to burn outdoors in the Forest Protection Area except for campfires.

Fire permits may be obtained at a local Alberta Agriculture and Forestry office in Slave Lake (780) 849-7377, Wabasca 780) 891-3860, or High Prairie (780) 523-6619.

Caution with winter burning is also a priority.

“If you have conducted any burning this winter, be sure to go back and check your winter burns to make sure they are extinguished,” Lovequist says.
vA fire left smouldering can burn under the snow all winter and emerge as a wildfire in the spring when conditions are warm and dry.

When checking for winter burning, spread around any remaining debris to probe the area for hot spots.

Use a bare hand to feel for heat over the ash piles.

Where smoke or heat are detected, the fire is still burning beneath the surface.

Douse any remaining hot spots with water and stir up the ashes.

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

Report winter burns to Slave Lake Forest Area Wildfire Technologist Russell Murphy by calling 780-849-7457 or email to Russell.Murphy@gov.ab.ca.

For wildfire or burning information, phone Lovequist at (780) 849-0945.

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