Fire season coming right up, believe it or not

Permits needed as of March 1

Gord Fortin
Lakeside Leader

Burn season is fast approaching and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry wants to remind everyone that permits will be needed for burning activities come March 1.

Leah Lovequist, wildfire information officer and area information coordinator, explains that this means anyone who is planning to do a burn, with the sole exception of campfires, will need to get a permit to proceed.

The campfires are the exception because they are used for heating or cooking. If you are burning shrub vegitation, yard debris or anything else that will create a lot of smoke you will need a permit.

Lovequist advises that people wait until March to acquire their permits and call in as their burn plans comes up.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is advising that anyone who carried out a burn over the winter, should go back and check the area and make sure those fires are extinguished. A fire that is left smouldering over the winter can end up spreading out into a wildfire during the right conditions in the spring.

“So it’s extremely important for them to go back (and check the fire),” she said.
The risk is high because of all the dry grass during that time of the year.

Lovequist recommends that people go probe the land. You would be looking for signs of the fire burning into the ground, smoke or warm ashes. If any of these are found, water needs to be put on the area. Stir the water around and keep soaking the ground. She also says to keep checking the area often as the snow recedes. A good clue that there is still some fire activity would be a visible melted hole in the snow.

Lovequist asks for people to report the site of their winter burns.
Lovequist says the fire season start date was chosen partly in response to the 2011 fire season and to give staff a head start in preparation. She adds that there is evidence showing that fire season is starting sooner.

“We are able to bring over staff earlier in March,” she says.
As for what kind of fire season we could see in 2018, Lovequist was unsure. She explains that it is hard to determine because it all depends on the spring rain. Fire crews will have to wait and see how the rain affects the ground before making any predictions on fire season.

Firefighters will be placed at the highest risk areas based on constant monitoring of the weather and conditions.

“We take it day by day, according to he conditions,” Lovequist says.
To get a permit you must call the local Agriculture and Forestry office at 780-849-7377.

Smouldering brushpile.
Photo courtesy of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

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