Three 2023 wildfires extinguished (finally)

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On May 29, 2024, the final three Grizzly ridge fires from 2023 were declared extinguished.

Across Alberta 2023 was a record setting year for hectares (ha) burnt. It also set records for hectares burnt in the Slave Lake Forest Area. By fall, eight wildfires were so large that they remained on the books through the winter, all under control.

Four of these, were in the Grizzly complex in the Swan Hills southwest of Slave Lake. Three were extinguished on May 29, 2024 – SWF057-2023 (16,728 hectares), SWF063-2023 (123,670 ha), and SWF064-2023 (40,060 ha). Lightning started these three wildfires on May 4, 2023.

The other 2023 Grizzly fire (SWF095-2023) was declared extinguished on May 10, 2024.

Six new small fires
On May 27 and 28, the Slave Lake Forest Area had six new wildfires.

Lightning caused four and two were human-caused and under investigation, says the May 29 Slave Lake Forest Area Wildfire Update. By the morning of May 29, five of these six fires were extinguished. The other was under control.

SWF050 was detected on May 28 near Faust, says the update. Early on May 29, it was 0.3 hectares and under control, with firefighters working to extinguish it.

By the afternoon of May 29, SWF050 fire was extinguished, says the Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard.

On May 29, the fire danger was low in the Slave Lake Forest Area.

The only active 2024 wildfire in the Slave Lake Forest Area was SWF004.

SWF004 was detected on Feb. 23, says the May 29 update. It is 27 km southwest of High Prairie and under control at 214 ha.

“Firefighting has been completed,” says the update, “and reclamation of the containment lines is being scheduled.”

From January 1 to May 29, the Slave Lake Forest Area had 50 wildfires, burning 314.76 ha. Of these 2023 wildfires, one was under control and 49 had been extinguished.

On May 29, the Slave Lake Forest Area had five active wildfires, all under control.

Four were from 2024 – SWF060-2023 (started on May 4, 2024 northeast of Utikuma Lake), SWF068-2023 (started May 5, 2024 northwest of Peavine burnt in both the Slave Lake and Peace River forest areas), SWF081-2023 (started May 14, 2023 northeast of Chipewyan Lake), and SWF116-2023 (start July 7, 2024 far from any community northwest of Chipewyan Lake).

Smith area
Smith, Hondo, Chisholm, and Flatbush are in the Lac La Biche Forest Area. By May 30, the fire danger was moderate.

On May 28 and 29, the fire danger was high for that area, says the Lac La Biche Forest Area Widlfire Updates. A fire advisory was in effect, which said that fire burning permits were still valid, but extensions might not be granted. New permits will be on a case-by-case basis and only for essential burning. Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds and random camping areas. Fireworks and exploding targets are prohibited.

For the most up to date information, go to albertafirebans.ca.

From January 1 to May 30, the Lac La Biche Forest Area had 83 wildfires, which burnt 58 ha. On May 30, there were no active fires in the Lac La Biche Forest Area.

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