City of Lacombe adopts new fire response guideline

Prescribed burns northwest of Rocky Mountain House in the Chungo, Blackstone and Wapiabi areas may go ahead in a few weeks.

Prescribed burns northwest of Rocky Mountain House in the Chungo, Blackstone and Wapiabi areas may go ahead in a few weeks.

“We’re monitoring weather,” said Barry Shellian, fire information officer with Rocky Mountain House Wildfire Management Area, on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development staff flew out to the areas to test conditions.

Prescribed burns are executed to restore the ecological role of fire, encourage the recovery of native grasses and shrubs and enhance forage and habitat for wildlife. They create fuel breaks to help prevent the spread of future wildfires and reduce the risk of potential disease or pest outbreaks such as mountain pine beetle.

Shellian said the areas are isolated with rough terrain, but some backcountry users, like hunters, make use of the areas.

Burns would only take a couple days to complete. During operations, areas immediately adjacent to the burn will be closed to public access.

Wildfire hazard in the Rocky Mountain House area remained high on Wednesday but possible thunderstorms may put a damper on the recent drying trend.

Skies were forecast to be clear by late Thursday and stay dry throughout the Labour Day long weekend.

Shellian said visitors to the area this weekend should remember that fire prevention is everybody’s responsibility.

“Everyone should play safely and be responsible out there.”

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