Ahead of the May long weekend, the province is asking Albertans to restrict recreation activities on public land in some parts of the province, especially in Northwestern Alberta due to wildfire risk.
This includes the Edson, Grande Prairie, High Level, Peace River, Slave Lake and Whitecourt forest areas. It also applies to the Rocky Mountain House Forest Area located north of Highway 11.
"Albertans planning to recreate on Crown land this weekend are asked to put safety first to reduce the risk of wildfire. The fire danger is extreme in northern Alberta with hot, dry conditions expected to persist over the coming days," the province stated.
There is a risk of wildfire throughout the province, with a moderate to high fire danger in the southern Rockies. A fire ban and an off-highway vehicle restriction are in place across the Forest Protection Area.
Outdoor recreation, including activities like backcountry camping, mountain biking and hiking, in these areas is not recommended. Some sites have been directly affected by wildfires while others are at risk due to their proximity to active wildfires and forecasted conditions.
In addition, several provincial parks, provincial recreation areas and campgrounds in areas where the fire danger is high are closed. Campers with reservations in affected areas will receive a refund. The list of parks includes:
- Young’s Point Provincial Park
- Williamson Provincial Park
- Smoke Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
- Winagami Lake Provincial Park
- Brazeau Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
- Two Lakes Provincial Park
- Iosegun Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Waskahigan River Provincial Recreation Area
- Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area
- Minnow Lake Provincial Recreation Area
- Wolf Lake West Provincial Recreation Area
Several other sites are being closely monitored. More closures may be announced over the coming days. The list of closures will continue to be updated online.
Conservation officers will be increasing patrols to ensure compliance with active wildfire-related restrictions, closures and fire bans. Albertans are reminded to review current restrictions, closures, fire bans and advisories before making plans to visit a provincial park, provincial recreation area or public land use zone over the long weekend. Non-compliance with restrictions or fire bans could result in penalties, including fines.
In addition to having more conservation officers patrolling in affected areas, staff will be out educating Albertans and reinforcing public safety measures.
With smoke forecasted for much of the province over the coming days, Albertans should also check the Air Quality Health Index before heading outdoors.
There are currently 92 active wildfires in the Forest Protection Area. Of these, 26 are out of control. Fire bans are in place for more than 280 provincial parks and recreation areas.
More than 200 staff from the Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism will be on the landscape this weekend educating Albertans and enforcing closures, restrictions and fire bans.
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