Fire ban issues for Lesser Slave Lake area

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A fire ban is in place for areas north of High Prairie and Big Lakes County.

A ban for northern Alberta was issued May 16 at 6 p.m. by the Forest Protection Area under Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

The wildfire rating increased to extreme.

“A fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction has been issued in the northern regions of the Slave Lake Forest Area,” wildfire information officer Leah Lovequist says.

“All fire permits are suspended and no new fire permits will be issued.”

Weather conditions created a risk.

“Under windy conditions, a fire will burn intensely and spread very quickly,”

Lovequist says.

Firefighters urge everyone to use caution and report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE or #FIRE on your cell phone.

The ban affects areas around High Prairie, Slave Lake, Peace River, Lac La Biche, High Level and Fort McMurray.

Lovequist advises that many that several outdoor activities are prohibited: 

-All open fires including campfires in campgrounds, backcountry and random camping areas and backyard fire pits.

-Charcoal briquettes, turkey fryers and tiki torches.

-Fireworks and exploding targets.

-The use of off-highway vehicles for recreational use on all public lands.

Other activities are still allowed:

-Portable propane fire pits that are CSA approved or UL certified.

-Gas or propane stoves and barbecues that are CSA approved or UL certified and are designed for cooking or heating.

-Catalytic or infrared-style heaters.

-OHVs for industrial use, agricultural use, and traditional use by Indigenous peoples, as well as use on private lands.

The fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Lovequist reminds everyone to be cautious outdoors.

Do your part to prevent wildfires this spring. 

When riding your off highway vehicle stop frequently to remove any build-up of debris from the hot spots on your machine.

An off-highway vehicle exhaust can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees Celsius.

That means it won’t take long for that wet and muddy debris to dry up, start smouldering and fall to the ground as you drive away.

Never leave your campfire unattended and make sure it’s out.

Soak it with water, stir up the ashes and soak it again.

A campfire is out when the ashes are cool to the touch.

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