Red Deer County fire crews as well as Innisfail and Penhold fire departments responded to a wildfire on Hwy 42 last year. (File photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff)

Preparing for fire season in Central Alberta

With the snow melted and temperatures rising in Central Alberta, fire season is beginning.

It’s too soon to say whether fire crews will be busy this season, said Jim Pendergast, Penhold fire chief.

“You just don’t ever know,” he said. “It could be really bad for a couple days and then there would be nothing for three or four weeks.”

The grass is dry and the ground is partly frozen, he added.

“April was so cold and so snowy, it’s been an immediate turnaround for summertime weather,” said Pendergast.

Pendergast said there are a few things people should keep in mind if they have a campfire.

“The most important thing is to make sure you’re not around anything combustable … including fences, decks or trees.

“Always keep an eye out for the weather. With heavy winds you’ll think you have a fire under control and then boom it’s out of control,” he said.

READ MORE: Fire permit season begins in March

Matt Bell, a provincial wildfire information officer, said hot and dry conditions are optimal for wildfires.

“Certain precautions are taken to limit the amount of wildfires,” Bell said. “From a weather perspective it’s very difficult to predict … but we prepare for anything the wildfire season can throw at us.”

A four-month seasonal forecast, released by Environment Canada Monday, suggests drier and milder conditions for Central Alberta this spring.

Since March 1 there have been 109 wildfires that have burned nearly 250 acres in forested areas across Alberta.

“We see that dry grass as a result of the snow melt, which obviously can increase the threat of a wildfire. But we’re constantly monitoring the risk of wildfire across the province on a daily basis,” said Bell.

Last fire season, 1,231 fires burned 121,000 acres. Nearly 800 fires were caused by humans – sixty-eight tickets and written warnings were handed out for burning without a permit and leaving campfires unattended.

Bell said more than 2,600 fire permits have been issues for forested areas in Alberta.

“Permits ensure proper burning practices and allow us to monitor where these burning practices are done,” he said. “It ensures enforcement of non-permitted burning is acted upon.”

Fire permits are required for any burning, except campfires, in Alberta’s Forest Protection Area.

Bell said firefighters and supplies are prepositioned in high danger locations so there can be a quick response.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer councillor says addicts have accepted death as an outcome of lifestyle

Buck Buchanan says “no one wants that to happen”

Tending the fields like a pioneer near Spruce View

Weekend of horse-drawn plowing, seeding and more at Double Tree Village Museum

Red Deer County tweaks animal control bylaw

Some residents complained earlier version of animal bylaw was too restrictive

PHOTO: Planting a colourful garden at Red Deer City Hall Park

Think you have a lot of yard work to do? This crew… Continue reading

WATCH: Ellis Bird Farm open for summer

There is something magical about the Ellis Bird Farm located outside of… Continue reading

B.C.’s Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

YELLOWKNIFE — B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is fighting to both… Continue reading

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

OTTAWA — Journalists are not an investigative arm of the police, a… Continue reading

‘Knees-together’ judge can practise law again

Former judge Robin Camp allowed to practise law again: Law Society of Alberta

Lacombe receives award for contribution to recreation

City received the William Matcalfe Award for major renovations to the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex

Photo: Roundabout action on 67th Street

Construction season is in full force

Alberta demands all-party support for pipeline at western premiers meeting

Leaders from western Canadian provinces, territories holding a morning meeting today in Yellowknife

Manitoba First Nation community trapped by smoke as fire creeps closer

WINNIPEG — Hundreds of people from a Manitoba First Nation are sitting… Continue reading

Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus to receive the 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the most decorated actors in television history.… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month