Alberta wildfire season opens March 1

Property owners are advised to be cautious with their winter burns. Fires lit in the winter can smoulder under the snow and emerge as a wildfire in the spring when conditions are warm and dry, says Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer for Slave Lake Forest Area.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Wildfire season starts March 1 despite the piles of snow outside.

A fire permit will be required for any type of outdoor burning in the forest protection area from March 1 to Oct. 31, says a news release from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry dated Feb. 14.

“A campfire for cooking or warming does not require a fire permit,” Slave Lake Forest Area wildfire information officer Leah Lovequist says.

Free fire permits may be obtained at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry offices in High Prairie or Slave Lake.

For information, phone the High Prairie office at [780]) 523-6619 or Slave Lake at [780] 849-7377.

Residents are also reminded to be cautious when winter burning.

“It is important to go back and check your winter burns,” Lovequist says.

“Fires lit in the winter can smoulder under the snow and emerge as a wildfire in the spring when conditions are warm and dry.

“Do your part to prevent wildfires by ensuring your winter burn piles are extinguished.

She offers other tips to control winter burns.

-When checking your winter burns, spread around any remaining debris so you can probe the area for hotspots.
-Use your bare hand to feel for heat over the ash piles. If you see smoke or feel heat, the fire is still burning.
-Douse any remaining hotspots with water and stir up the ashes.
-A fire is not out until there is absolutely no heat emanating from the ashes.

“Take the time to go back and revisit your winter burns to ensure they are extinguished,” Lovequist says.

People are required to report winter burn locations to Slave Lake Forest Area by phoning [780] 849-7457.

For more information, contact Lovequist by phone at [780] 849-0945 or e-mail to Leah.Lovequist@ab.ca.

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