Provincewide fire ban in effect

Tinder-dry conditions across most of Alberta have triggered a provincewide fire ban. As of noon on Monday, all open fires, including those in campgrounds, back country or random camping areas in the province’s forest protection areas, will not be allowed. Portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and barbecues designed for cooking or heating are OK.

Tinder-dry conditions across most of Alberta have triggered a provincewide fire ban.

As of noon on Monday, all open fires, including those in campgrounds, back country or random camping areas in the province’s forest protection areas, will not be allowed. Portable propane fire pits and gas or propane stoves and barbecues designed for cooking or heating are OK.

All fire permits are suspended or cancelled and no new fire permits will be issued.

“(The ban) is a combination of how dry the province is, plus the resource capacity we have to fight these wildfires,” said Kristofer Heemeryck, wildfire prevention officer in the Rocky Wildfire Management Area.

“The natural-occurring ones are hard enough to fight. We don’t need those reckless or nuisance fires from campfires or from off-highway vehicles, the stuff that can be prevented.”

More than 1,300 wildland firefighters and 100 aircraft are battling the wildfires already underway. Firefighters and other resources from Ontario and Quebec are arriving to help. Since April 1, Alberta has seen 629 wildfires that have burned 13,098 hectares (32,350 acres). Municipalities and provincial parks are not covered by the ban, but many have their own restrictions in place.

Clearwater County followed with its own open fire ban, which went into effect at 1 p.m. Fire advisories were in effect in all other Central Alberta rural municipalities as of Monday. For more information, go to www.albertafirebans.ca.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development rates the wildfire hazard as “very high” in the Rocky Wildfire Management Area, a huge swath of natural area west of Rocky Mountain House extending from Drayton Valley in the north to Sundre in the south and west to the Jasper and Banff National Parks.

Heemeryck said conditions in the West Country remain hot and dry, with no rain falling in the last few days.

“It just continues to be a hot, dry spring for us. And we don’t need any of the what I’ll call the reckless fires, the campfires that get away, the stuff that can be prevented,” he said.

As of Monday, there were 30 wildfires burning — five out of control — around the province. Four are burning but are under control in the West Country, which so far has gotten off lightly with only 110 acres burned from the 63 relatively minor fires reported so far this year.

“It only takes one bad one to change that. Yesterday we had about an 11.5-hectare (28-acre) fire and we were lucky to catch it,” he said, of the blaze that was south of the Drayton Valley area.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
Security and police block the entrance to GraceLife Church as a fence goes up around it near Edmonton on Wednesday April 7, 2021. The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules. Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public-health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta… Continue reading

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is developing contingency plans to keep COVID-19 from affecting its ability to defend the country and continue its missions overseas amid concerns potential adversaries could try to take advantage of the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

OTTAWA — Some Canadian soldiers supported a major military offensive last month… Continue reading

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Most Read