Humans to blame for most forest fires
The main cause of forest fires in the West Country is human activity.
Three of the 90 wildfires so far in the Rocky Mountain House Wildfire Management Area were the result of agricultural activity, one from forestry, seven from oil and gas, and seven from the power line industry. Five wildfires were caused by lightning, 34 were the result of recreation, residents caused 13 fires and the cause of two fires were undetermined.
Fifteen fires are still under investigation, including a fire near Nordegg.
The number of fires in the wildfire management area was about average at 90 so far this fire season.
With a total of 3,958 acres burned in the area, the amount of land affected was less than usual this season, said Barry Shellian, fire information officer for the management area that stretches east to Rocky Mountain House, west to the national parks, north to Pembina River and south to the Sundre area.
Flames threatened Nordegg this spring and forced the evacuation of the hamlet. Nordegg residents were evacuated for six days just prior to the May long weekend.
The fire, located 1.5 km from the hamlet, was held at 740 acres.
In July 2006, Nordegg was evacuated for four days when a 311-acre fire, two km southeast of Nordegg, threatened the community.
Shellian said the wildfire hazard is currently high.
“The forecasted weekend weather means there’s going to be strong winds. With the seasonal drying of the forest and the strong winds, folks should know to be especially cautious about wildfire,” Shellian said.
So far this fire season, 1,156 wildfires have burned 55,085 acres in Alberta. They include 833 human-caused fires and 285 from lightning. Thirty-eight fires are still under investigation.
Last season there were 1,239 wildfires that burned 838,905 acres.
The five-year provincial wildfire average is 1,489 fires and 733,185 acres burned.