Watch winter burns, AB gov. updating wildfire plan

Leader staff

Even with snow on the ground people should still be careful with fire.

The Alberta wildfire season is over, says a Nov. 2 Alberta Wildfire news release. However, people are still required to monitor and extinguish winter burns. Snow doesn’t put them out, so they can smoulder until spring.

It continues, “Overall, this wildfire season was quieter than past seasons due to rain and cooler temperatures throughout the summer. Wildland firefighters in the Slave Lake Forest Area fought 69 wildfires which burned 278 hectares.”

The five-year average in the Slave Lake Forest Area is 149 wildfires and 50,253 hectares burned, says Leah Lovequist, Wildfire Information Officer.

The Alberta government intends to implement 15 recommendations from a wildfire review, says a Nov. 4 Alberta government media release.

The release says, “the 2019 fire season was one of the worst on record in terms of hectares burned (more than 880,000 hectares) – second only to 1981. Seventy-one per cent of the wildfires were human-caused.”

The news release included six key points:

Improve key areas of Alberta’s prevention programming, including outreach and communications, compliance and enforcement, and FireSmart activities.

Better prepare for current and forecasted wildfire hazards based on weather, ignition potential and values at risk.

Enhance the prioritization of wildfire response resources.

Modernize software systems used in wildfire management.

Minimize the costs associated with wildfire response and preparedness.

Enhance risk management and strategic response.

The 2021 fire season starts on March 1. At the moment Alberta is hiring wildland firefighters.

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