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Early season fire bans declared in Parkland and Leduc County


Two local counties declared fire bans Wednesday.

Parkland County and Leduc County declared the bans after multiple grass fires broke out over the past few days.

"This is one of the earlier times that we've had to put a fire ban on," Brian Cornforth, Parkland County Fire Chief, said. "We're around 56 per cent of our anticipated snowfall, and that's gone now, so we're seeing really drying conditions."

Persistent drought and above-average spring temperatures are expected to drive another intense wildfire season in the province.

Cornforth said wind and tinder-dry conditions have recently led to grass fires extending into forested areas, and the county wants to do everything it can to minimize risks until things turn green.

On Tuesday, a family on Enoch Cree Nation learned how fast fire can get out of control.

Isabel Hope's granddaughter was burning some yard waste when the fire spread quickly across the dry field and toward several other homes in the area.

"It's so dry out, that's why I told her to just put it in a bag," Hope said. "I thought she'd know better."

Residents were forced to leave while fire crews worked for hours to bring the fire under control. Thankfully, Hope said, no one's homes were damaged and they were allowed to return later that night.

Wednesday afternoon, a large grass fire threatened multiple properties in Strathcona County.

It was brought under control before any homes were damaged, but an old barn and an unused outbuilding were destroyed.

Strathcona County has not called a fire ban, but there is a fire advisory in place.

Anyone who plans on burning – whether they have a permit or not – is asked to call the county's burn line at 780-464-8464 to check if it's safe.

Alberta's legislated wildfire season normally begins March 1, but the government declared an early start to it in February due to warm temperatures and little snow.

At the time, 52 wildfires from the 2023 season were still burning.

As of Wednesday, there are 53 active wildfires in Alberta. Most of those are located in the northern parts of the province. None were out of control.

For more information on fire bans click here. Top Stories

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