Wildfire hazard high in Rocky area

Safe campfires still allowed in some areas

The wildfire hazard was upgraded to high on Thursday for the Rocky Forest Area and the advisory continued Friday.

“All the fire permits have been suspended in the Rocky area. No new permits are going to be issued. Anything other than a campfire in the forest protection area needs a fire permit,” said Barry Shellian, area information co-ordinator for Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Rocky, on Friday.

He said safe campfires require a fire ring, like a large pile of rocks, and need to be built away from tall grass and standing trees. Campfires must be kept small and manageable and used only for warming or cooking. Water or tools are to be kept nearby to ensure the fire does not spread outside the fire ring.

So far the Rocky Forest Area has seen 15 days with a higher wildfire advisory since March 1 which is a lot less than the same time last year, he said.

A new fire caused by lightning was extinguished Friday afternoon. The fire, located 15 km southwest of Lodgepole, grew to 1.2 acres.

Hot and dry weather has also impacted crops in Central Alberta.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association said significant signs of distress have been seen in both annual and perennial crops. Crop conditions in much of Alberta have declined further in the past couple of weeks due to adverse weather conditions.

On July 23 widespread storm activity hit communities between Edmonton and Red Deer, stretching west of Hwy 2 to Alberta’s eastern border. Damage was light to severe. Pea-sized to golf ball-sized hail stones were reported with moderate to strong winds.

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