The dryer weather conditions have created the perfect fuel for a grass fire and the Airdrie Fire Department is reminding citizens to be cautious.

 Deputy Chief Garth Rabel with the Fire Department said that, now that the snow is gone, grass fires could start emerging.

"Definitely with the (dry grass) that's out there now, now that the snow cover is gone and the prevailing winds are now drying out the superficial grass, there is the greater opportunity for grass fires and those type of incidents to occur."

Rocky View County put a fire advisory in effect yesterday, but Rabel said that Airdrie currently isn't under one.

"We haven't put an advisory in place. Of course, a fire advisory is a moderate fire risk and it has some impact on what you can and cannot do. At this time, we would like everyone to understand that the conditions are such that we should be very cautious with our outdoor (activities). If we have a backyard fire or throwing cigarettes out of car windows or any of those type of behaviours, that could put us at risk. We will continue to monitor and if we feel it necessary, we may consider putting an advisory in effect as well."

For Rocky View, the fire advisory restricts some permits.

"There burning permits are suspended. If you do have a permit out there to do any clean up around your rural area or properties, specifically in the municipality of Rocky View, those permits will be suspended in a fire advisory."

With the dry conditions, Rabel said that not being cautious could have disastrous consequences.

"If you're outside, throwing cigarettes out of automobiles or the improper disposal of cigarettes is a very dangerous practice. If you've got a backyard fire pit, there is a bylaw in the city of Airdrie and you must follow the rules of the bylaw, which is on our website. It's just really, really (important) to be proactive and ensuring that unfortunate circumstances don't happen."

Now that the weather is warmer, backyard fires will be happening more often. Rabel reminded citizens that the fires must be watched carefully.

"Recreational fires should never be left unattended. When you do go to bed and when you leave the fire pit for the night, it should always be responsibly extinguished, meaning you always use sand or water, stir it with the sand or water and make sure that there are no burning embers because, if the wind blows, it can bring the fire back up. Any available fuel and it could ignite itself again."

Rabel said his crews will be coming door-to-door soon to spread awareness.

"We're going to be kicking off our spring campaign of home safety program in the next couple of weeks. We will be going door-to-door making sure that folks in the community realize the importance of smoke alarms, CO detectors and having a home escape plan because it's best to be prepared."


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