Wildfire season has begun and will last till the end of October in Alberta. According to the province, nearly all spring wildfires in Alberta are human-caused, which means that they are 100 per cent preventable.

"The spring wildfire hazard is highest after seasonal melting has left fuels like trees and grasses extremely dry and flammable. Under these conditions, wildfire can ignite easily and spread quickly," a provincial press release stated.

While it is too early to predict what the 2023 wildfire season will look like, spring rainfall will have a significant impact on what can be expected. 

Todd Loewen, the Minister of Forestry, Parks and Tourism said that Alberta Wildfire has leading-edge firefighting resources positioned across the province, ready to respond to new wildfires as they arise, and continues to test and implement emerging tools and innovation designed to increase our wildfire management capabilities.

“As folks look forward to enjoying Alberta’s wonderful outdoor spaces over the months ahead, we’re focussed on keeping communities safe. It’s important that everyone plays an active role in preventing wildfires from starting," he said. 

During the high-hazard time in spring, and throughout the wildfire season, it is critical that people take care to fully extinguish campfires, frequently check off-highway vehicles (OHVs) for smouldering debris and conduct agriculture burning projects safely.

Fire permits are free and are required during wildfire season for activities like residential, industrial or agricultural debris burning within the Forest Protection Area (FPA).

Those living or operating a business within the FPA can obtain their fire permit online at firepermits.alberta.ca or by calling their local forest area office. Those outside the FPA can contact their local municipality to ask about fire permit requirements.

In its February 21 council meeting, Rocky View County approved the continuation of the Fire Guardian Program into 2023 including appointed volunteer Fire Guardians, and directed Administration to continue the development of annual fire permits, and explore mobile data collection solutions for the 2024 permit season.

During the 2022 wildfire season, Alberta recorded 1,246 wildfires that burned 130,858 hectares. 61 per cent of wildfires were human-caused in 2022.

Up-to-date information on fire advisories, restrictions, bans and OHV restrictions is available at albertafirebans.ca or by calling 1-866-FYI-FIRE (1-866-394-3473).

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