Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and Edmonton police are teaming up to raise awareness about arson in our city. Officials say arson is now the leading cause of fires in Edmonton.

Officials say last year, 281 of the 981 fires that took place in our city were deliberately set and caused nearly $50 million in property damage.

"Arson is a crime that poses serious risks to communities and firefighters all over Canada," said Fire Chief Ken Block.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services holds fire summits every two years in an effort to engage the public in fire safety and prevention programs. This year, fire officials are co-hosting the event with Edmonton police.

The summit also includes representatives from other Alberta fire departments, the provincial government, the RCMP, Edmonton Public Schools, Edmonton Catholic Schools, and Edmonton community leagues.

And while officials say the average number of arsons in Edmonton is lower than the national average, it is still a serious issue that residents need to be aware of.

Residents can help prevent by following these safety tips:

  • Dial 911 if you see someone starting a suspicious fire.
  • Report suspicious or unusual activity to the police.
  • Keep your property tidy and free of materials that could be used to start fires i.e. piles of branches or leaves, garbage, furniture, old vehicles, etc.
  • Participate in community clean up programs.
  • Report derelict or abandoned buildings by calling 311.
  • Educate your children about fire safety and fire prevention.
  • Get to know your neighbours: social connectedness is an important part of a safe community.