Many rural Albertans take advantage of cold winter weather and snow cover to burn brush piles, old buildings or unused bales. A permit is obtained from the local municipal government, the burn is done with appropriate safeguards in place, and the result is a satisfying clean-up.
If you have a winter burn site on your property, now is a good time to do a thorough check to make sure it is completely extinguished. As the season progresses, we can expect dryer conditions, giving any remaining embers a chance to rekindle and spread.
In mid-April, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen announced a fire ban that applies to the Forest Protection Area, provincial parks and protected areas, all located outside Battle River Power Coop’s service area. While Albertans are advised to stay home at this time, anyone traveling through these areas should be aware that the ban is in effect, and that there is a ban on the recreational use of off-highway vehicles on Crown land in the Forest Protection Area. The bans are accompanied by a doubling of fines for violations, emphasizing the Alberta Government’s determination to reduce the number of wildfires caused by human activity during this trying time. With the cooperation of the Alberta public, fewer resources will be needed to fight wildfires while we are battling COVID-19 and resources are needed for support programs.
Albertans in areas outside the Forest Protection Area, including rural residents in central and eastern Alberta, should also be vigilant to ensure that recreational campfires stay under control. If you enjoy a family night by a campfire in an area without restrictions remember:
- Use a pit.
- Keep water handy.
- Be alert for changes in the wind.
- Teach children to keep a safe distance from the fire.
- Be sure the fire is out before you leave it. Really out.
Stay healthy. Stay safe.